Despite receiving a petition with 50,000 supporting signatures from Spain alone, the European Commission today stood firm on its rejection of calls for the introduction of private storage aid for olive oil.
European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş did however agree to review the threshold prices for the aid as part of the current renegotiation of the E.U.‘s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Representatives of olive oil producers in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal who met with Cioloş in Brussels today said he had also told them he was open to looking at other, medium and longer term steps to help the struggling sector. These included the possibility of measures to reduce fragmentation among producers and for increased promotion of olive oil.
Gregorio López, olive oil spokesman for Spanish agrarian organization COAG, said that the Commissioner had at least seemed receptive and willing to introduce the storage aid later, “if he saw it as necessary.”
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During their meeting with Cioloş, the producer groups presented their estimate that taking 50,000 tons of olive oil off the market in Europe would cost about 1.8 million euros ($2.6 million) in E.C. storage aid yet would deliver benefits worth about 300 million euros ($428 million) to producers.
Eduardo Martín, general secretary of ASAJA, an association of young agriculturists, said that Spanish producers were currently losing 50 cents ($0.71) on every liter of EVOO they produced.