The European Commission has decided to pay an advance of €10m to the Netherlands government, covering some compensation paid to poultry producers for losses incurred during this year's avian influenza epidemic.

Brussels will meet 50% of the costs of the subsidy, which covers the cost of slaughtering chickens, destroying eggs and carcasses, disposing of contaminated feed and equipment, plus disinfecting poultry holdings.

More than 25 million birds were killed and 130 million eggs destroyed in the Netherlands outbreak. More money may yet be paid, as the final EU subsidy will be fixed after the Netherlands has made its final claim and the Commission has made financial and veterinary inspections.