BRUSSELS  - The European Commission proposed Friday donating one billion euros (1.6 billion dollars) in unused EU funds to farmers in poor countries as a one-off measure to help them tackle spiralling food prices. The special "facility for rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries" would come from funds left over from the EU's agriculture budget and would operate for two years, the EU's executive arm said. The plan faces major opposition from some EU countries because the surplus farm money is usually used to reimburse those that contribute most to the bloc's coffers. If endorsed, it would improve the access of farmers to fertiliser and seed, and help them boost production capacity. The funds would be paid out through international organisations. "This one billion euro facility aims to generate a strong and rapid agricultural supply response," commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement. "It is an act of solidarity with the world's poorest but also a responsible measure to promote stability," he said. The EU's Common Agriculture Policy's finances are currently brimming with surpluses because high prices for food products has made it unnecessary for the EU to ensure minimum prices through buying up excess supplies. When asked on Tuesday about the commission plan, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier said it is "very ambitious, very important, new." But at a meeting on Thursday of EU budget ministers, "many member states raised concerns" about the commission plans, an EU official said, on condition of anonymity. At a G8 summit in Japan this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country contributes most to the EU budget, expressed clear doubts. "We haven't had our last word on this," she warned. Despite the objections, the commission hopes to win the support of the 27 nations and the European Parliament by November so that the funds can be made available next year. The plan won immediate applause from the ONE campaign against poverty. "This is the kind of leadership people want to see from Europe," said director Jamie Drummond. "While the food crisis is hitting consumers in Europe hard, in the developing world it is far worse." "This move is a serious step in the right direction and these funds must be fully secured and swiftly targeted towards the right policies and mechanisms," he said in a statement.