March 4. 2024. 8:41

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Bulgaria pushes for equalisation of EU farm subsidies


The government will send an official request to the European institutions, insisting on the revision of the multiannual financial framework and the equalisation of EU subsidies for all agricultural producers, Agriculture Minister Yavor Gechev announced on Wednesday.

“There are several reasons. First, convergence in the EU has slowed down too much. Until now, it was more normal that we waited for equalisation for many years, but since the war in Ukraine, we find that the countries that are on the eastern flank of the EU suffer much greater consequences than the western countries,” he said.

The minister continued that countries on the Eastern flank of Europe receive lower subsidies, something that undermines EU solidarity.

“With this deliberate decision (of the government), we have an official position of the state, with which we send a clear signal to the European institutions regarding the needs of Bulgarian agricultural producers”, Gechev commented.

He expressed hope that solidarity in the EU will prevail, and Bulgaria expects support “even now, this year”.

Farmers from EU member states that joined the bloc after 2004 receive smaller than average EU subsidies. Subsidies for agriculture in Bulgaria increased steadily, but are lower than those received in older member states.

One of the main financial forms of European solidarity are direct subsidies for agricultural producers in the union. From 2023 to 2027, Bulgarian farmers will receive €4.4 billion in direct subsidies for land and another €3.6 billion for investments. Traditionally, the largest subsidies go to grain producers who also own the biggest lands.

Farmers and their associations in newer EU member states have been pushing for years for their subsidies to catch up to the levels in Western Europe.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)