Estonian farmers want fair quotas from EU

  • 2002-04-18
  • Agence France-Presse

Estonian farmers told visiting European Parliament President Pat Cox on April 16 that the EU must increase agricultural production quotas for the 10 candidates currently wrapping up entry talks.

"We want equal treatment with the old member countries and fair production quotas," said Kaul Nurm, director of the Estonian Farmers Federation, as Cox met with about two dozen farmers holding placards outside the Parliament building.

The farmers handed Cox an appeal to the European Parliament for help in securing better terms than what the European Commission suggested earlier this year.

Cox, who talked briefly with the farmers, promised he would take their concerns to Brussels.

EU members are expected to agree to a position on agricultural aid and quotas for new members within the coming months.

Estonian farmers complained that the production quotas offered by Brussels were set at low periods during the country's post-Soviet transition, and that a 10-year transition period to receive full direct subsidies was too long.

Cox was due to conclude later on April 16 a two-day visit to Estonia after meeting Estonian President Arnold Ruutel and Prime Minister Siim Kallas.

Kallas said last week one of the government's priorities in the accession talks was to achieve fair production quotas.

Estonia and nine other countries hope to wrap up membership talks this year in order to join the EU in 2004.