The EU will give 1 billion euros to poor farmers in non-member countries over the next three years. While member states agreed on the matter in principle, there was some disagreement on where to get the money.
African farmers will benefit from the EU money
EU budget ministers, meeting in Brussels, reached the deal late Friday, Nov. 21, according to diplomats cited by German news agency DPA. The money will be released in three phases up to 2010 with an installment of 270 million euros ($337.4 million) due this year.
"There's agreement -- and Germany supports this -- to make available this money for food production in the poorest countries," said German Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen.
The money is earmarked for seeds and fertilizers in Africa, among other places. EU Commission President Jose Barroso had suggested the payment six months ago.
After hefty complaints from some member states, including Germany, and the European Parliament, the money will not come from unused EU farming subsidies. Instead, funds from the external relations budget will be re-allocated, with some of the money also coming from funds set aside for unforeseen events.
The EU's overall budget in 2009 will be 116.1 billion euros, with Germany shouldering 7.4 billion euros, making it the bloc's largest financial contributor.