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Germany

Ilse Aigner Named New German Agriculture Minister

Bavaria's new Premier Horst Seehofer has nominated Ilse Aigner as his successor in the German Ministry of Agriculture and consumer Affairs in Berlin. The 43-year-old will be the second woman to ever hold the post.

Ilse Aigner

Aigner is the new woman at the agriculture helm in Berlin

Commenting on the nomination, Aigner said she was "very pleased." Like Seehofer, she hails from Bavaria and is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU.

Seehofer praised Aigner's skills saying she would be able to fill his shoes in Berlin.

"Ilse Aigner is quick on the uptake and will do a good job," he said.

Renate Kuenast, the member of the Green party who held the job from 2001-2005 before Seehofer took over, urged Aigner to pay more attention to consumer affairs, which she said had "dropped to bottom place under Seehofer."

A radio and television technician by training, Aigner has been a member of parliament in Berlin since 1998, specializing in education, research and agricultural affairs. No date has yet been set for her swearing-in.

As agriculture minister, Seehofer, who resigned on Monday to take up his job in Munich, had notably managed to calm farmers' anger over weak milk prices and EU policy, although milk prices still remain low.

Aigner's first big test is likely to come in November when the EU decides whether to cut direct subsidies to farmers. Germany is lobbying for subsidies for its dairy farms, a key sector in rural Bavaria, with the talks scheduled to wrap up next month.

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