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Fico backs Slovak farmers’ EU requests; farmers protest outside EC residence

Slovak farmers should receive at least as much financial support from the EU as their neighbouring states, it was said after a session of Prime Minister Robert Fico with Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek and Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber (SPPK) chairman Milan Semančík on Tuesday, December 11. The representatives discussed the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is being prepared for the period of 2014-20.

Slovak farmers should receive at least as much financial support from the EU as their neighbouring states, it was said after a session of Prime Minister Robert Fico with Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek and Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber (SPPK) chairman Milan Semančík on Tuesday, December 11. The representatives discussed the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is being prepared for the period of 2014-20.

"Slovakia exists in a certain region. We have neighbours - Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. I would be very glad if farmers were supported equally per hectare at least in this region," said Fico at a briefing, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He pointed to the need for Slovak farmers to be competitive and indicated that receiving lower subsidies than their counterparts in neighbouring countries is detrimental to this objective. "I delegated Slovak negotiators to try to negotiate higher direct payments for Slovak farmers... It would be very good if the sum reached €470-500 million within seven years," he specified. Semančík complained about the unequal conditions for farmers within the EU. "The unequal business environment means that we're losing competitiveness," he said.

On Wednesday, December 12, about 300 farmers protested in front of the Agriculture Ministry against the unequal subsidy conditions for European farmers. They also marched in Bratislava streets and at the end of their march, they emptied a wagon full of manure in front of the residence of European Commission’s representation in Slovakia. Head of the Agrarian Chamber of Slovakia (AKS) Helena Patasiová told the SITA newswire that in spite of the EC’s pledges to make “old” and “new” member states equal by 2014, this promise remains unfulfilled.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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