EU to Increase Aid to Farmers Hit by E. Coli

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Our top story today, Germany and Spain welcome the announcement by the European Commission to increase its compensation fund to farmers hit by the E.coli outbreak. Germany's government is still investigating the cause of the outbreak which has killed 23 people. Here's the story.

The European Union's top farm official made an announcement on Tuesday that he was prepared to increase financial aid for farmers hit by a deadly E.coli outbreak.

[Dacian Ciolos, EU Agriculture Commissioner]:
"I have been engaged into reviewing this figure - that is to say the level of compensation and the global package. And we came back with a better proposal with substantial improvement. Something substantial, balanced and justified by the current situation."

The European Commission was prepared to offer up to 150 million euros in compensation to farmers hit by the crisis.

But farmers will not be compensated for 100 percent of their losses.

[Ilse Aigner, German Agriculture Minister]:
"Commissioner Ciolos has made some proposal he wants to further improve. It's important for us that the aid is deployed quickly.”

EU financial aid could be released to farmers by the end of June.

The outbreak of E.coli in northern Germany has crippled exports as uncertainty about the cause of the killer bug added to the difficulties faced by farmers, distributors and retailers.

Germany is still under pressure to find the source, with most recent claims organic bean sprouts could be the possible culprit.

[Ilse Aigner, German Agriculture Minister]:
"We are constantly looking for the cause. We have created a special task force. We have taken about a thousand samples. Especially the farm has been searched through and through. Now we have to wait for the results. But I say it again; there were clear references for the scions...

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