Hypocritical EU vote for tobacco subsidies

European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee votes for EU tobacco subsidies despite appeals from Conservatives

Brussels, 17th April 2008 — Today, (Thursday) the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture voted for EU tobacco production subsidies, contrary to appeals from the Conservative Party. Conservatives MEPs are vehemently opposed to tobacco subsidies in the EU, which cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

More than £200 million (293 million euros) has now been set aside to pay tobacco premiums in the 2008 EU budget, and an additional £10 million (14,250,000 euros) has been earmarked for the Community Tobacco Fund. Direct payments to tobacco farmers, which were due to expire in 2009, will now run until 2012 as result of amendments passed in the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP said:

“Subsidising tobacco production completely goes against the Public Health programme of the EU. It is ludicrous that whilst farmers in the UK are struggling to make a living, we are directly funding tobacco farms elsewhere. On the one hand the EU talks about cutting dependency on tobacco, then on the other it sanctions an extra three years of direct tobacco subsidies. It is high time the EU got its act together and ended this outdated and hypocritical system.”

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