ECONOMY

Greek cotton’s EU subsidies seem safe

Cotton will continue to be protected in Greece and the European Union after 2013, even though its cultivation will probably continue to shrink, according to Euro MP Ioannis Glavakis. Glavakis, who submitted a report to the European Parliament on the revision of the EU subsidy for cotton, which met with the approval of his fellow MPs, said in Thessaloniki yesterday that Greek producers should not reduce their cotton farms, which presently occupy some 3,000 square kilometers. «The high number of cotton farms constitutes a negotiating weapon for Greece,» he said. Cotton cultivation has shrunk by 20 percent in the last few years. Glavakis said that there is great scope for development in Greece of various types of cultivation, particularly relating to trees, vegetables and flowers. It is believed these could offer a solution to tobacco farmers, along with wheat, corn and plants for biofuel. Cotton farming will probably be spared exclusion from subsidies after 2013, while arboriculture may see even better days, but other types of farming will likely see a decline in EU subsidies after that year. The reduction of fund inflows is the result of the entry of 12 new – mainly agricultural and poorer – members to the EU, who will claim a greater share of Community funds. Speaking at a press conference, Glavakis also explained that Greece had proposed and achieved a reduction of cotton farms from 3,700 sq.km. to 2,700 sq.km. but with a simultaneous rise in subsidies: 75,000 euros per sq.km. from 59,000 euros per sq.km. for the period ending in 2013. As a consequence, Greece will retain a total of 202 million euros in cotton subsidies.