Following the technical consultations held between Czech authorities and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture (DG VI), and after higher-level meetings between Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler and the Czech and Hungarian Ministers for Agriculture, Jan Fencl and Joszef Torgyan respectively, all sides have now reached a compromise on EU pigmeat exports to the candidate countries. The Commission has proposed a 50% reduction in export refunds on pigmeat destined for all Central and Eastern European countries (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Slovenia) from ECU 40 to ECU 20 per 100 kilograms for carcasses and main cuts and from ECU 25 to ECU 13 per 100 kg for bellies. This proposal was endorsed by the Pigmeat Management Committee and the new level of refunds is applicable from December 9 onwards.

The problem had arisen at the end of November when the Czech Republic threatened to cancel the preferential duty that EU pigmeat exports currently benefit from on the grounds that these were flooding its domestic market. In making his proposal to reduce export refunds to the East European candidate countries, Mr...

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