Farmers blockade for second week

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The farmer blockades across Greece continued for the second week in support of their call for continued agricultural subsidies.Twenty eight road blocks have been maintained by the protesting farmers across Greece.However Greek Prime Minsiter George Papandreou has ruled out any additional handouts for farmers.“We are not going to give any subsidies. We will not spend money so that the farmers actions stop and the tractors leave the blockades. “We have a Stability Plan and we have the trust and self-belief to implement it. We will not even waste one euro,” the Greek Prime Minister said speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.The Agricultural Development Minister Katerina Batzeli met with farmers from the various blockades across Greece earlier in the week without success. However Batzeli has put a proposal to the PanHellenic Coordinating Committee, which represents the farmers in central Greece and Macedonia, calling for a four month process of dialogue to resolve the issue raised by farmers.Batzeli has also made proposals designed to promote agricultural associations and cooperatives and to decrease the gap between the whole and retail costs for agricultural products.The Minister is due to meet with farmer representatives today (Friday) to find a compromise solution which will lead to the dismantling of the blockades. A further twist was added to the story when the The European Commission (EC) said last week that it had launched an investigation into whether 425 million euros paid out to farmers in 2008 and 2009 as compensation for damages actually constituted state subsidies, which would violate European common market regulations.The EC gave the government a month to provide more details about the payouts made by the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organisation (ELGA), which oversees the compensation to farmers. “It cannot be ruled out that the compensation paid by ELGA in 2008 and 2009 under the compulsory insurance scheme constitutes state aid,” the Commission said in a statement. If it transpires that theses payments were state subsidies, the government will be obliged to recover the 425 million euros from farmers or face the European Court.last_img