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Tuesday, 17 January 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Common organisation of the market in sugar – Support schemes for farmers (sugar) – Restructuring the sugar industry (continuation)

  Heinz Kindermann (PSE).(DE) Mr President, Commissioner, the rapporteur, Mr Fruteau, deserves thanks for his committed work, which enabled the achievement of what was, after all, an acceptable compromise. He was not helped, of course, by the fact that the Agricultural and Fisheries Council had taken a preliminary decision. Although we do not have power of codecision in this field, this decision can only be tolerated in the light of the 2005 WTO negotiations.

The compromise that has now been reached remains a tremendous challenge for those affected: within the EU as well as the ACP and least developed countries. Even though the affected parties will receive compensatory payments, there will be losses of income one way or another.

In future, many sugar-beet-growing regions in the EU will not be able to grow as much sugar beet for food purposes or, in some cases, any at all. The Commission should follow the lead taken by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in this regard and examine the possible scope for increasing the funds per hectare available for non-food crops.

In my view, the key proposals of the Agriculture Committee are similar to those of the Agricultural and Fisheries Council. I hope that the compromise is adopted in the end, as it will give beet growers planning security and enable sugar-beet production in the EU to continue in future in spite of severe cuts.

Sugar-factory operators also share responsibility, however. Their task is to implement the regime of the future market organisation in such a way that viable socio-economic solutions can be devised in cooperation with the trade unions and staff representatives.

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