E. coli's economic impact on Europe, by the numbers
The European Union is planning to offer €150 million ($220 million) in aid to European farmers who have suffered huge financial losses since the outbreak in early May of E. coli in northern Germany. The agricultural industry across Europe took a hit when inability to determine the source of the outbreak caused fear of consuming fresh produce. The question now: Is €150 million enough to make up for their losses? Here are the five countries most severely affected by the crisis.
Spain’s farmers were the first to take a hit because Germany initially blamed the outbreak on Spanish cucumbers. Scientists weren’t able to trace the bacteria to Spain, but the damage was already done – the Spanish government estimates that farmers have lost €200 million ($293 million) since Germany’s announcement. Agriculture makes up roughly 3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Because scientists haven’t been able to identify the source of the outbreak, fears about consuming fresh produce have spread to other European countries, taking a toll on their agricultural sectors as well.
Spain is furious with Germany for placing the blame on Spanish produce before it had proof. “What we want from the Germans is for them to admit and correct their mistake, because we are now paying for something that is simply not our fault," said Anthony Moreno, a spokesman for Spanish farming organization Coag, according to the Guardian. "We want the damages to our companies and our farms to be compensated. We don't care where the money comes from. Obviously the Germans are to blame, but we are inside the European Union and that is where it may have to be dealt with."