NEWS

Athens pleased with farm deal

Greece voiced «great satisfaction» with yesterday’s compromise deal on reducing European Union subsidies for three crops mostly grown in Mediterranean countries. Under the agreement, which was thrashed out after some 20 hours of intense haggling by EU agriculture ministers meeting in Luxembourg, Greek farmers stand to receive 1.51 billion euros a year between 2006 and 2014 for tobacco, cotton and olive oil. However, subsidies will be gradually separated from production levels, and will instead be paid in the form of income supplements or as incentives for farmers to switch to different crops. The total area of cotton cultivation has been set at 370,000 hectares. «The Council of Agriculture Ministers has accepted all our demands, which aimed to improve the proposals we were presented with,» Agricultural Development and Food Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said. All three parliamentary opposition parties accused the government of striking a poor deal.