Oil price aid on tap for French fisherman

19th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 17 (AFP) - France's agriculture and fisheries ministry said Saturday it was releasing two million euros in a first installment of emergency aid to fishermen hit by the high price of diesel fuel.

PARIS, Sept 17 (AFP) - France's agriculture and fisheries ministry said Saturday it was releasing two million euros in a first installment of emergency aid to fishermen hit by the high price of diesel fuel.

Minister Dominique Bussereau also pledged that a special fund set up in October 2004 would ensure that fishermen would not have to pay more than 30 centimes a litre for fuel until the end of the year.

This is about a quarter the price motorists currently pay at the pumps in France.

Fishermen's leaders gave the announcement a mixed reception, with Pierre-Georges Dachicourt, head of the national fisheries committee, saying he was "satisfied with the gesture."

Dachicourt's committee is to meet with government officials on Monday to work out how to distribute the cash.

Robert Bougeon, fishermen's leader in the Brittany port of Guilvinec, dismissed the aid as insignificant, calling for a temporary exoneration from social charges and extension of the fuel subsidy into next year.

The French government has scrambled to bail out its powerful lobbies since oil prices soared, with prime minister Dominique de Villepin promising tax relief totalling EUR 30 million for farmers and other measures in favour of road hauliers and taxi drivers.

French finance minister Thierry Breton also said he had received assurances from oil company chiefs Friday that they would protect consumer interests during the current period of volatile oil prices.

European Union economic and monetary affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia on Friday warned EU members to avoid exceptional tax measures to tackle high oil prices, which he said would distort the global energy market.

EU finance ministers meeting had also earlier warned against policy changes, such as tax measures, that might aggravate rather than counter the economic woes caused by high oil prices.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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