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.
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.