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European Commission Finalizes Relief Packages for EU Farmers

The European Commission has finalized a proposal to provide member states with extra funding for agriculture, to offset damage from severe climate events.

The Commission said on Monday that the main part of the relief package amounts to 330 million euros (362 million U.S. dollars) for 22 EU member states. The two largest beneficiaries will be Spain, with 80.1 million euros (87.8 million U.S. dollars), and Italy with 60.5 million euros (66.3 million U.S. dollars).

Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region was battered by severe rains and flooding in May, leaving 14 people dead and causing billions of euros worth of damage to infrastructure and agricultural production.

Also in May, flooding around Murcia in southeastern Spain caused serious damage. It was the second time in eight months that the region was struck by severe flooding.

In addition to the larger payouts to Italy and Spain, the proposed package will also provide at least 10 million euros each to Lithuania and Portugal, and smaller amounts to countries with lesser flood damage.

The European Commission said the payouts may be supplemented by as much as 200 percent in matching funds from national budgets.

The package is expected to be formally adopted after a vote of EU member states at the next meeting for the common organization of agricultural markets.

Additionally, a separate support package of 100 million euros (110 million U.S. dollars) for Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia was approved by EU member states on Monday.

The funds should be distributed before the end of the year, the Commission said. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)

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