Sugar proposal gets sweet and sour reactions

EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel published, on 22 June 2005, a proposal for a far-reaching shift in EU sugar funding. 

The core of the proposal is a 39% price cut over two years, starting in 2006-2007. European farmers will receive a 60% compensation for the losses incurred in exchange for the cuts. This regime will remain valid, with no possibility of a review, for the next nine years.

The Committee of Industrial Users of Sugar praised the proposal, claiming that “the price cut is vital for the thousands of European small and medium sized companies producing chocolate, biscuits and other confectionery”. 

The European Committee of Sugar Producers criticised the Commission’s proposal for “falling short of meeting the objectives of sustainability and competitiveness of the European sugar sector”, among other things because “the external policy pillar is completely missing (…) and therefore no market equilibrium can be achieved.”

The World Wildlife Foundation calculated that “under the proposed reforms, the EU will still spend €30 million dumping sugar on world markets and the severe restrictions on the import of sugar from developing countries will remain in place until 2009”. 

Politicians from ACP countries dependent on sugar production commented in similar vein. Roger Clarke, agriculture minister of Jamaica, said: “It’s going to be devastating. We have to be super-efficient to survive.”

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