Sweden and Finland in Farm Subsidy Spat11 October 2007
SWEDEN - Sweden has called for an end to national farm subsidies in Southern Finland. Finland's Agriculture Minister, Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, says the Finnish government believes that Sweden, too, should be able to extend national subsidies.
Swedish Minister of Agriculture Eskil Erlandsson argues that the so-called 141 transitional subsidies were intended to be temporary and should no longer be continued. He says it is unacceptable that Finnish foods are being sold cheaply in Sweden with financial support from the EU, including Sweden.
"This has been continued for 12 years now," he said. "It must end now so as not to create problems for our Common Agricultural Policy." He believes that other EU ministers agree with this view as well.
Anttila Responds at Farmers' Demo
Finland's Agriculture Minister, Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, says the Finnish government believes that Sweden, too, should be able to extend national subsidies.
Anttila addressed about 250 farmers who were demonstrating in Helsinki in favour of continuing 141 supports. They told the minister that extending the subsidies was a matter of life or death for farms in Southern Finland.
Anttila said she believes she can carry this message to her Swedish colleague when they meet later this month.
According to Anttila, the Swedes have been annoyed that, for instance, Finnish eggs are exported to Sweden. She said she has proposed to Erlandsson that production levels and supports for poultry, eggs and pork be separated from one another, which she says would resolve the problem.
Anttila added that she will meet with the agriculture ministers of the other Nordic EU member states, Denmark and Sweden, in about a week and a half, and that she will "try to reach a good solution with them based on good information".
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