France demands EU farm aid decisions

Stéphane Le Foll

A French plan to secure a monthly salary of €1,700 for the country’s farmers could reap dividends for farmers across the EU, when agriculture ministers meet on September 7.

French agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll said last week he was close to securing the necessary majority support from his ministerial colleagues, for EU support measures for struggling farmers.

France will propose new aid measures for dairy, pigmeat and beef farmers, in Brussels at the emergency September Farm Council.

Le Foll and other ministers had pushed the Luxembourg EU Presidency to call the emergency meeting, and the French minister has warned he “wants decisions to be taken”.

The French government last month drew up emergency national measures to help their struggling livestock farmers — injecting €600 million of indirect subsidies — but will have to call on the EU to help deliver its planned monthly farmer salary of €1,700, which is about 70% above France’s minimum wage.

France’s agricultural crisis deepened on Tuesday, after two important pig processors boycotted French pork, deeming it too expensive compared to pork from other EU member states.

The country’s top processors, La Cooperl and Bigard/Socopa, didn’t turn up at livestock auction markets on Monday, and said in a press release that German pork is 25 cents cheaper.

This has added pressure on Le Foll to get EU aid for livestock producers, 10% of whom are estimated to be on the verge of bankruptcy in France.

Farmers across Europe will also pile pressure on ministers on September 7, by staging a mass demonstration at the EU Council building, in a continuation of months of farmer protests across the continent, including dairy farmer protests in England and Northern Ireland.



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