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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

EU Commissioner pledges to align development, farm policies with Africa

The International Green Week was held in Berlin last Thursday (16 January), in which EU Commissioner Dacian Cioloş called for an elimination of agricultural export refunds in trade with African countries.
In his speech, Cioloş announced: "I am ready to propose stopping, once and for all, the use of export refunds to those developing country destinations – even in times of crisis when this instrument can still be used."
Since 1992, the EU's agriculture policy has gradually been shifting from price support to directly providing aid to farmers. This shift is intended to continue supporting farm incomes while lowering EU food prices and reducing the agricultural price gap with developing countries. Cioloş expressed further: "Since 1 January, EU legislation is also very clear," Cioloş said, "export refunds have ceased to exist as a means of systematically supporting a sector. ... in the framework of preferential partnership agreements with African countries: I am prepared to go one step further."
However, some relief organisations are not convinced that Commissioner Cioloş’proposal will curb distortions in the agriculture market adversely affecting developing countries: "Here, a well-meaning move to eliminate export subsidies will force Africa into agreements that are even less suitable for fighting poverty and hunger", said Francisco Mari, an advisor on agriculture trade for the German relief organisation Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World).
According to Germanwatch, the commissioners decision is linked to the ongoing negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements with African countries.

 

Source: EurActiv