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Relief Package For EU Economy

  • June 20th, 2008
  • Posted by 7thmin

barroso-strasbourg-19-june-07.jpgThe European Commission has produced a short-term assistance package to help industries and private citizens hit by sharply rising oil prices and related costs for food and other commodities.

AID PACKAGE

The President of the executive body of the European Union, Jose Manuel Barroso (picture), took the plan for approval, to the summit of EU heads of government at Brussels this week.

He said key parts of it would be: special assistance to the fishing industry, facing higher diesel fuel costs, with aid running up to €30000 (A$49040; dcerates.com, 20.6.08) for each fishing vessel; “transparency” measures to organise more information on fuel stocks; food aid within Europe for deprived citizens, increasing from €200-million a year to €500 –million (A$327 to 817-million p.a.); and creation of a new fund to promote investment in agriculture in developing countries.

Mr Barroso said all such measures had to stay within the bounds of general policy, which was to promote use of renewable fuels and cut back on energy imports.

He said energy-saving measures had become critical in economic terms, going beyond strictly ecological concerns.

Targets set by the EU for cutting back carbon emissions a year ago had been expected to make savings in production costs of €50-billion, but with the blow-out of oil prices especially, that figure had been revised to €80-billiom.

“Some time ago some of the investment in renewables could appear kind of exotic … but today it makes sense when you compare that investment with the market price of oil and for fossil fuels in general,” he said.

POLITICAL PROBLEMS

Worries over Europe’s need for outside fuel supplies occupied much of the first day of the high-level gathering at Brussels (19.6.08), the Presidents and Prime Ministers later turning attention to their political problem, of finalising a reform treaty for the management of EU decision-making.

The chairman of the gathering, Slovenia’s Prime Minister, Janez Jansa, told journalists that would be difficult, with at least one country, Ireland, bound to hold it up – following the defeat of the treaty proposal at a referendum.

The reform treaty once passed was expected to clear the way for easier agreement on common problems of Europe.

“We all want to find a correct solution to get out of this situation,” he aid.

“The European Union needs new response to global challenges”.

Picture: Jose Manuel Barroso

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