EU grants millions more in aid to help struggling farmers | News | DW | 18.07.2016
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EU grants millions more in aid to help struggling farmers

The European Union has promised an additional 500 million euros ($553 million) to help farmers, particularly in the dairy industry. The majority of the conditional aid is set to head to German farmers.

The European Union announced on Monday the creation of a second support package for farmers across the bloc hit hard by oversupply, plunging milk prices and a Russian embargo.

"Our ultimate goal is to see the much-needed recovery of prices paid to farmers, so that they may make a living from their work and continue to provide safe, high quality food for citizens," EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said in a statement.

The additional package, which must still be finalized, includes 150 million euros in subsidies to reduce milk output and an additional 350 million euros in conditional aid to be administered by EU states.

Germany's Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt praised the measure as he arrived at the EU Agriculture Council meeting in Brussels.

"Today is a good day for European and German agriculture," Schmidt told reporters.

Germany will be the biggest beneficiary of the conditional aid, with 58 million euros, according to the Commission.

France will receive 50 million euros and the UK will get 30 million euros, despite voting to leave the EU in a referendum last month.

The second package comes on top of 500 million euros worth of support that was offered last year. Farmers had deemed that to be insufficient.

In 2015, the EU abolished milk quotas which triggered a collapse in milk prices that has not recovered despite last year's aid package.

The agricultural sector in Europe was also hit hard by a Russian ban on EU food imports, which went into place amidst political tensions over the crisis in the Ukraine.

The crises in the livestock and milk sectors had prompted a wave of protests, both last year and again this year.

rs/jr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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