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Poland pushes for EU tobacco subsidies

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 25.06.2013 12:02
Minister of Agriculture Stanislaw Kalemba has redoubled efforts to secure subsidies for Polish tobacco farmers as EU agricultural ministers meet in Luxembourg.

Polish Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba (L) chats with Dacian Ciolos (R), the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, during a European Agriculture and Fishery affairs ministers council meeting at the EU council headquarters in Luxembourg, 24 June 2013. EPA/Olivier Hoslet

EU subsidies for tobacco were phased out in 2010, but in March this year, MEPs voted through draft legislation that could restart the process with amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“We are striving for these subsidies, and it's an ongoing subject of negotiation,” Minister Kalemba told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

Poland has joined forces with Italy, Greece and Spain on the matter, and Kalemba says that the Czech Republic may also back the bid for bringing back tobacco subsidies.

“We've taken up an initiative within a group,” he affirmed, stressing that the aim is to secure equal conditions for tobacco growers across the EU.

Kalemba noted that some 10,000 families in Poland could benefit from the subsidies.

Poland is the second biggest tobacco producer in the EU, and cigarettes are the country's largest export.

Nevertheless, the EU is currently running a 30 million euro campaign aimed at discouraging people from smoking.

Likewise, a draft EU directive has paved the way for a potential ban on menthol and slim cigarettes, which were deemed as being too attractive to children. Poland is campaigning for the prospective ban to be dropped. (nh)

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