EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Disagreements Over E.coli Compensation

  • June 9th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

vegs-ibspronet.jpgSquabbling over compensation for farmers has accompanied flailing efforts to trace down the source of Europe’s E. coli attack, with attention focused on the area around Hamburg.

In Luxembourg, Agriculture Ministers of the European Union received a proposal, 7.6.11, from the executive Commission, offering € 150-million (A$206.47-million;, 8.6.11).

Ministers from Spain and nine other countries objected that it was inadequate, saying the EU should cover 90 to 100% of losses.

“It is not enough for Spain”, said its Minister, Rosa Aguilar, reviving objections to early claims by authorities in Germany that the germ had been imported with Spanish cucumbers.

The plan from the European Commission would reimburse 30% of losses to all farmers in horticulture – 14 Eurocents out of the averaged price of 48 cents per kilogram.

About a third of the farmers, who have signed up with organisations that participate in EU marketing arrangements, would get back 32 cents.

A statement quoting Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that he referred to the “limited room for manoeuvre available as a result of budgetary restrictions and legal obligations that must be respected when granting financial aid.”

It said:

“He warned against overcompensation.

“EU procedures could be finalised next week, after which member states could start collecting information on the estimated losses as a basis for compensation, which will be paid through national producer organisations and co-financed by the EU and the member states.”

John Dalli, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, said action under a projected warning systems for future outbreaks would need to be “well substantiated and scientifically based.”

“The current bans imposed by some non-EU countries are disproportionate as the outbreak is geographically limited to the region around Hamburg”, he said, referring to import bars against EU produce, notably by Russia.

Health authorities say the E. coli crisis may have epaked, though they have not tracked down the source of the virus, 23 people so far have died, and 2400 have come down with the illness in twelve countries.

Consumers have been warned against eating raw vegetables or fruit including cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes.

See EUAustralia Online, “E. coli plagues Europe”, 3.6.11.


Le Monde, Paris, “Pour les agriculteurs européens, l’UE peut mieux faire”, (For European farmers, the EU could do better), 8.6.11., (8.6.11).

Council of the European Union, Brussels, “E. coli outbreak: Support for growers of vegetables”, 7.6.11., (8.6.11).