EU agriculture ministers have reached agreement on controversial reforms of the sugar regime.
The ministers, meeting on 24 November 2005, agreed that EU prices, kept high by a 40 year-old price guarantee agreement, should be cut by 36% over the next 4 years from the 39% originally proposed.
The reform, hailed by Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel as a ‘brave and bold decision’ will give the EU a substantial advantage when pressing for subsidy cuts and market opening from other countries in the forthcoming WTO talks in Hong Kong in December.
The African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have expressed outrage at the agreement, which is only a 3% smaller cut than the 39% originally proposed. The ACP countries have been significant beneficiaries of the EU system up until now.
They had been pressing for a cut in prices of only 19%, failing which they claimed they stood to lose €300 million a year in direct export earnings and the destruction of their sugar industry. The EU, however, has promised financial assistance to ACP countries to help cope with the changes.
EU official documents
- RAPID:EU radically reforms its sugar sector to give producers long-term competitive future(24 Nov 2005)
Business & Industry
- African, Caribbean and Pacific Sugar Group:ACP sugar group biggest losers of EU sugar reform; they deplore the insensitivity of the EU to their case(24 Nov 2005)
- African, Caribbean and Pacific Sugar Group:The ACP/EU Sugar Protocol
- Sugar Traders Association of the UKEU agriculture ministers sweeten the pill of sugar reform with a raft of extra measures
- Irish Farmers' Union:IFA President describes sugar deal as black day for Irish beet growers(24 Nov 2005)
NGOs and Think-Tanks
- Oxfam:EU sugar deal ‘scandalous betrayal’ of poor countries(24 Nov 2005)
- Greenpeace:Encourage sustainable trade
- Third World Network:Most Recent Negotiations and Events in WTO
- Forbes:Caribbean Sugar Producers Criticize EU(24 Nov 2005)
- Financial Times:EU sugar deal to hit developing countries(24 Nov 2005)
- Irish Times:EU deal likely to close down Irish sugar industry(25 Nov 2005)
- Le Figaro:L'Union européenne dynamite sa politique du sucre(25 Nov 2005)
- RTBF:Accord sur le sucre(25 Nov 2005)
- Reuters:EU-Agrarminister beschließen Zuckermarktreform(24 Nov 2005)
- Hamburger Abendblatt:Neue Regeln auf dem Zuckermarkt(25 Nov 2005)