The sugar refining industry in Bulgaria at risk of collapsing
Sofia, 14 September 2012 - The sugar refining industry in Bulgaria at risk of collapsing
Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and various Members of the European Parliament met today with all the sugar refineries active in Bulgaria. The meeting, co-organised by ESRA −The European Association of Sugar Refineries− was aimed at coordinating the efforts and strengthening the collaboration to prevent the collapse of the sugar refining sector in Bulgaria.
Laura Girol, Executive Director of ESRA, explained that EU rules on sugar are making the sugar refineries in Bulgaria and across the EU unviable. “We believe that the Bulgarian sugar cane refiners deserve a fair chance to compete in the EU market, however the proposal to reform the European Agricultural Policy is threatening the future of this sector in Bulgaria and across Europe.”
Currently, because of the strict rules in the EU for import of raw cane sugar for refining, the sugar refineries are unable to source raw material in the quantities that they need. In other words – Europe creates an artificial and regulatory deficit. As a result the price of raw sugar for refining is higher and because of the artificially created deficit; the Bulgarian producers cannot refine enough quantities of raw material to allow them to be economically viable and competitive. The sugar refineries in Bulgaria have stopped, a long time ago, to operate at full capacity, but now their future is at risk and with this, the jobs of near 1000 people are threatened.
This is happening at a time when there is a huge deficit of sugar in the region and the disappearance of another Bulgarian industry will only mean that the consumers will have to pay the extra cost for bringing the sugar from countries where sugar production from beet exists.
The Sugar refineries in Bulgaria, as active members of ESRA, are also supporting the request for a level playing field for all sweetener producers in Europe.
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