EU subsidies mean that roses are smiling in Italy... but not in the Netherlands

12 January 2009

EU subsidies mean that roses are smiling in Italy... but not in the Netherlands

The number of rose growers in the Netherlands, long a leading producer of flower bulbs, has halved in the last ten years. Costs are rising and income falling, and no end to the industry's decline is in sight. Yet in Italy the sector is flourishing.... thanks to subsidies from Brussels. SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer wants to know why this is the case, and has put a number of questions to the European Commission in an attempt to find out.

Erik MeijerCompetition

According to the Italian rose producer Ciccolella, to date €33 million has been made available to it in EU subsidies. Dutch rose cultivators are green with envy over this. In fact by their own estimate the true figure is more than €50 million.

State aids

Erik Meijer, following reports broadcast on 2nd January on the popular Dutch TV documentary series NOVA, is demanding an explanation from the European Commission. "I want to know precisely how much in state aids this firm is receiving and how these subsidies relate to the EU's purported policy of supporting economically weak regions. Ciccolella operates in a poorer region, and EU subsidies are meant to address the problem of strengthening such regions, and so it's very nice for the Italians to receive this money from Brussels. But aid of this kind should be used to generate economic growth, not to attract jobs from one member state to another. I have warned about this on numerous occasions and want the European Commission to state whether or not it agrees that this experience with Ciccolela should lead to an adjustment of current policy regarding the distribution of subsidies."

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