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NEWS BRIEFS

Slovakia backs sugar reform

SLOVAKIA supports a European Commission proposal to reform the sugar sector, Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon confirmed November 23.

Simon made the comments in Brussels after a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers, according to the news wire TASR.

The EC proposal, to take effect in 2006, will sharply reduce sugar production quotas and prices for sugar beets.

The proposal comes in response to criticism from EU’s poorest countries that the sugar regime is unfair.

Ten EU member states oppose the planned changes: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Slovenia and Ireland.

“The proposal will have a devastating effect on farms and other businesses in the sugar sector,” agriculture ministers from those countries said in a letter to the EC.

Slovakia’s Simon said that Slovakia favoured the reform because “it is in the interests of consumers”.

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