Germany pledges to restore trust in Spanish cucumbers

Germany will help Spain restore consumer confidence in its farm produce, Spanish Secretary of State for the EU Diego Lopez Garrido said on Thursday.

“The German government agreed to improve the image of Spanish produce in Germany,” Garrido said at a news conference after talks with Werner Hoyer, Germany’s Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Germans have been told not to eat cucumbers until the source of a deadly E. coli outbreak is defined. The disease is thought to come from contaminated cucumbers imported from Spain, but Madrid has denied this.

At least 26 people have died so far, most of them in Germany.

EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos meanwhile increased to 210 million euros ($306 million) its offer of compensation to outraged farmers who have lost their income over the outbreak.

Russia banned imports of EU-produced vegetables last week, in a measure condemned by Brussels as “disproportionate.”

Russia is the 27-nation bloc’s largest market for its vegetables.

Discussions on the ban are expected to dominate a biannual EU-Russia summit in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod later on Thursday.

EU Moscow envoy Fernando Valenzuela said last week the ban went against the rules of the World Trade Organization, which Russia has been pressing hard to join.

But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia would not “poison” its people for the sake of the WTO.

BERLIN, June 9 (RIA Novosti)

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