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France Says it Will Support Farmers Hurt by E. Coli Outbreak

Following are comments from French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire on the E. coli outbreak in Europe and the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. He spoke in an interview in London today.

“I will support any kind of compensation for Spanish and French producers because we have to take into account the financial loss for the producers.”

“It is fair to try to define the way of compensating the loss of the producers. I don’t exactly know the form it will take and what is the most convenient way of going this way of compensating the producers. But it is fair to have compensation for each of the producers.”

“First of all we have to make an assessment of the loss of the producers. I’m not in a situation today to give any precise figure about the loss of the French producers.”

“The second point is to have a clear view on the origin of the disease and for the time being I’m not able to give any evidence and any assessment of the cause and origin of the disease and if we want to restore the confidence of the consumers, which is the key point, we need to know exactly what is the origin of the disease.”

“The third point, which is important to me, is to have a look at our safety system. There has been a failure, there has been a great failure, and we have to take that into account and try improve our safety system so that it will never happen again.”

On the Common Agricultural Policy:

“It is a key political choice. If we want food safety, and food safety is of course related to this very last crisis, but there have been other crises and there will other safety crises in Europe.”

“The first point is the question of food safety. The second point, the question of food security. Do we want to ensure food security for all European consumers or not? Do we want to depend on imports of goods and commodities coming from Brazil and Argentina, U.S. or other countries or do we want to be independent? I think we have to be independent and we have to secure our food security.”

“And the third point of course is the question of sustainable development.”

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