Baltic Farmers Unions Meet in Tartu
Baltic protesters in Brussels last October.
( Photo: ERR )
Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian farmers unions are meeting in Tartu today to discuss plans to protest uneven EU subsidies.
Union leaders said they plan to invite European Commissioner on Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, to Estonia for talks with the Baltic representatives, reported ETV.
Farmers say the low level of subsidies allocated to the Baltics under EU's Common Agricultural Policy inhibits competition on the single market, and that many farmers are at risk of being put out of business.
Recently, the umbrella organization uniting farmers and their cooperatives in the EU issued a position in support of fair Common Agricultural Policy reform that specifically mentions the Baltics. The organization, COPA-COGECA, refers to low agricultural subsidies in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in its February 16 declaration, stating that the area subsidy level in the Baltic States remains significantly under the EU average.
The European Commission has proposed to bring Estonia's direct subsidies to 60 percent of the EU average by 2020.
Agricultural subsidies were paid to 22,600 recipients last year, amounting to 286 million euros, a 10 percent increase from the year before. The EU's single area payment scheme accounted for the majority of the subsidies, an 80-million-euro fund that was split between 16,300 farmers, according to the Agricultural Registers and Information Board.