The European Commission's proposal to reduce its support for poultry exports to zero has been strongly criticized by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The ministry argues that the international market has deteriorated since export refunds were last set, and that currency fluctuations have been negative for European producers. In addition, it argues that European chicken producers cannot currently compete in international markets particularly against lower cost Brazilian chicken.

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The ministry further argues that the European industry is undergoing a restructuring process to reduce production costs and that this should be allowed to reach completion under the next stage of the Common Agricultural Policy, allowing refunds to gradually become unnecessary.

Any sudden change would undermine this process, the ministry says, adding that nothing could justify such a "brutal" decision.