EP approves controversial Tunisian olive oil imports

Italian govt, farmers against increase in duty-free quota

(ANSA) - Strasbourg, March 10 - The European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday gave its final approval to a package of aid to Tunisia, including a controversial regulation that will permit the importation of an additional 35,000 tonnes of Tunisian olive oil to the EU without duties. The package, which was approved with 500 votes in favour, 107 against and 42 abstentions, has prompted concern in some quarters, especially among Italian farmers fearing the impact it will have on prices and their livelihoods. Premier Matteo Renzi's government is not in favour either. "I remain firmly opposed to any permanent increase in the Tunisian oil quota," said Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina. "We have put clear conditions on the application (of the measure) and on the monthly quotas and we do not intend to yield on this point. If we don't get guarantees, we'll continue to oppose the adoption of the regulation by the Commission". He added that inspections of products arriving at Italian ports had been "stepped up".
   

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