Protest over cotton quota

Thessaly cotton growers, including several pro-government leaders, are threatening to resort to their tradition of disrupting highway traffic if the government does not accept an extra 35,000 to 50,000 tons of produce to be subsidized from the European Union’s Agricultural Fund. The EU imposes strict quotas on production and the government is poised to declare that Greece has met its quota of 1,132,400 tons of cotton for the year 2004. Cotton growers in the Thessaly prefectures of Larissa and Volos continue to hold out for a higher amount to be declared, with no penalties. However, the penalties kick in automatically, in accordance with EU regulations. Government ministers are trying to explain they cannot fulfill the farmers’ demands. When in opposition during the past decade, New Democracy wholeheartedly supported farmers against the previous Socialist government.

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