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Sant says European Commission’s policy on agriculture ‘must be contested’

MEP highlights differences between the agriculture of Malta and other EU member states

Staff Reporter
12 February 2016, 8:13am
MEP Alfred Sant addressing the Mgarr Labour conference
MEP Alfred Sant addressing the Mgarr Labour conference
MEP Alfred Sant has said that the European Commission’s policy on Maltese agriculture must be contested on all levels.

“The EU is very reluctant to apply special measures to Maltese farming,” Sant said, addressing the Labour Party general meeting in Mgarr.

He added that in a reply to a parliamentary question to the European Commission asking for more flexibility when considering the needs of Maltese farmers, Commissioner Phil Hogan argued that the common agricultural policy is already sufficiently flexible in this regard.

Sant said that Malta's agriculture has characteristics that are very different from most other farming sectors in EU member states.

“For instance the average holding in Malta is 1.2 hectare; in the bigger countries, the average farm is between 50 and 60 hectares.”

He said that in August 2014, he had already made the claim that even though they did not export to Russia, Maltese farmers and pig breeders would need support and compensation as a result of the embargo  placed by the country on food imports from the EU. 

Sant said that in September 2014 he again pressed the need to protect pig meat producers in island states during a plenary debate on the situation in European agriculture, following the Russian embargo, and that finally, in October 2015, the European Commission had accepted to allocate €119,570 to Maltese pig meat producers and to allow the Maltese government to introduce extra compensation if it so wished.  

“The Maltese agricultural sector needs to continue to lobby for its special position to be given full recognition and support,” he added.