Criticism over competition that ignores social laws

Fuss in Germany over GMO subsidies for Southern European growers

There is an uproar in Germany over the millions of euros of subsidies given to Southern European fruit and vegetable cultivation companies. The German public broadcaster, Bayerische Rundfunk, did research into this. This showed that growers in Italy and Spain receive subsidies. They do not, however, meet the legal requirements in the areas of health, wages, or safety.

The German broadcaster used a Spanish grower as an example. This farmer in the Spanish province of Almería has received EUR3,4 million in subsidies over the past three years. This, despite various transgressions regarding wage regulations and legal protective measures. Here, workers have been complaining about low wages. Labourers also have to deal with toxic sprays without wearing any protective clothing. According to the broadcaster, the regional union has received many complaints against this organic tomato grower. This farmer supplies, among other places, German supermarkets and discount shops. The criticised farmers have products in Edeka, Rewe, Real, Penny, and Lidl.

Various European members of parliament want stricter controls when it comes to the legal compliance of growers who receive subsidies. However, it seems that EU agricultural commissioner, Phil Hogan, sees no reason to take action at this time, reports Bayerische Rundfunk.

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