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Aid to Greek cotton farmers

20 May 2004

 At the November EU Agricultural Council
 meeting the Commission objected to proposals for national aid to
 be granted to Greek cotton farmers, but the Council nevertheless
 agreed to authorise the deployment of state aid, even though the
 Commission felt that it was in violation of EU rules on state aid.

Editorial comment

 Even when the Commission sees no case for state aid, the EU Agricultural
 Council can still agree to allow such aid. The decision to allow
 assistance to Greek cotton farmers in the face of the current situation
 in the cotton market stands in stark contrast to the abolition of
 the Lomé Agreement STABEX scheme for ACP agricultural exporters,
 which has cut of an important source of compensatory support to
 ACP cotton farmers, when faced with declining international prices.