Saturday

21st Oct 2017

Sarkozy unveils massive aid package for French farmers

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has pledged a €1.65 billion aid package for his country's already heavily subsidised farmers who have nevertheless been bludgeoned by falling prices in the sector.

"I will not let French agriculture be swept away by the crisis," the French leader said during a visit to the town of Poligny in the Jura department in the east of the country, a region celebrated for its cheese-making.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The French state aid decision comes after agricultural protests over the summer (Photo: European Milk Board)

He noted that the prices farmers can charge for their products had dropped 20 percent in the last year, while retail prices in supermarkets had eased only one percent, calling this situation "unacceptable."

"This gap is putting our food production in danger," he said.

Mr Sarkozy announced a support plan for the struggling farmers of €650 million in government aid and another €1 billion in low-interest loans.

Farmers will enjoy interest rates of 1.5 percent, while young farmers will be charged 1.0 percent.

In the same speech, the president demanded that Europe increase regulation on agricultural commodities.

Blaming above all "a lack of European and global regulation" for the farming crisis, Mr Sarkozy said the European Commission should propose new rules preventing speculation on farm products.

"In the area of agricultural commodities markets, Europe should put in place proper regulation," he said, reports Agence France Presse.

Mr Sarkozy also said he would make farm labour costs cheaper by lifting all social contributions from seasonal workers.

The announcement could incur the wrath of European competition monitors, however.

The French farming sector is already the biggest recipient of Europe's agricultural subsidy largesse and the new announcement comes only a week after the European Commission proposed a special milk fund worth €280 million for EU dairy farmers.

The bloc has seen repeated protests from the dairy farmers in recent months over the fall in milk prices.

Reacting to the Poligny aid announcement, the European Commission said it would make a ruling on whether the plan breaches competition rules once it had looked at the details of the package.

Farmers for their part gave the move a lukewarm welcome.

Jean-Michel Lemetayer, president of the FNSEA, the largest farming union, said that what was really needed was government regulation of retail food prices.

"This plan is going in the right direction, but as important as it is, it will never replace a pricing policy to ensure a good income for our farmers."

Macron puts trade policy on summit table

France's president wants a "political discussion" on EU trade policies at Thursday's summit, amid domestic concerns over Canada and South America deals. But his colleagues are likely to avoid a lengthy debate.

Analysis

Juncker's euro-push could risk unity, warns eastern flank

The EU Commission chief hopes that as Emmanuel Macron pushes for euro area countries to integrate further creating a multi-speed Europe, central European members will be more inclined to join the single currency. Are they?

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks