Greek unionists and politicians have belatedly begun to debate the European Commission (EC) proposal to increase duty-free imports of Tunisian olive oil into the EU.
After months of relative silence on the European Commission (EC) proposal to increase duty-free imports of Tunisian olive oil into the EU by 35,000 metric tons per year in 2016 and 2017, Greek unionists and politicians have begun to debate the issue. The question is not whether to support the proposal, since almost no one does, but whom to blame for supporting it.
Since late November, two lines of argument have dominated the debate. One side claims that the increased import quota benefits the olive oil standardization industry of Italy and Spain by reducing oil prices with an infusion of cheaper olive oil from Tunisia, thus harming Greek (and other European) farmers.
This side opposes the quota increase and criticizes the Greek government for allegedly failing to oppose it, arguing that Greek farmers are already struggling enough with an economic crisis, delayed EU subsidy payments, and the expectation of drastic tax increases.
The president of the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Heraklion, Crete, Andreas Stratakis, has gone so far as to call for the removal of the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Evangelos Apostolou, whom many blame for either allegedly supporting or at least failing to strongly oppose the proposal.Greek debate over the EC proposal to increase duty-free imports of Tunisian olive oil,