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Proposal to extend maize intervention

Hungary has proposed that the EU's maize intervention scheme, which will be scrapped next year, should instead be extended until 2008, Agriculture Minister József Gráf said in Brussels on Wednesday.

Hungary has also proposed gradually lowering intervention quotas or even intervention prices, Gráf said. He conceded, however, that negotiations "are not going well," though Germany and France support Hungary's view. Hungarian maize accounts for 95% of the EU's intervention stock. The fact that the 2007-2013 EU budget allocates no money for maize intervention, as well as the European Commission's determination to stick to its earlier decision to scrap the subsidies, makes the issue difficult to debate, Gráf added. Still, he argued that land-locked Hungary should be compensated for some of the cost of taking its maize to market. Still, he argued that land-locked Hungary should be compensated for some of the cost of taking its maize to market. He also complained about the cost of building intervention stores in Hungary, adding that subsidies for Hungarian exports of maize would have been a better solution. (Econews)