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MILK-NEWS

http://www.europeanmilkboard.org

Newsletter as PDF

download here a pdf version

Contact

EMB – European Milk Board asbl
Rue du Commerce 124
B-1000 Brussels

Phone: +32 – 2808 – 1935
Fax:     +32 – 2808 – 8265

office@europeanmilkboard.org
www.europeanmilkboard.org

Newsletter as PDF

PDF-Version download here

Contact

EMB - European Milk Board asbl
Rue de la Loi 155
B-1040 Bruxelles

Phone: +32 - 2808 - 1935
Fax:     +32 - 2808 - 8265

office@europeanmilkboard.org
www.europeanmilkboard.org

Dear Dairy Farmers and Interested Parties,

The election of the Members of the European Parliament is over and there will be a change in approach, both for the European Parliament and for EMB representatives. You can read an article on the election results in this newsletter.

An issue that will have to be focused on a lot more is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US, known in short as the TTIP free trade agreement. Up until now negotiations have been held behind closed doors, and although the fifth round of negotiations is already over, neither the people nor the parliamentarians know much of its content besides some ‘leaked’ documents.

Hormones for meat and milk production, the use of animal medication forbidden in the EU, the almost complete lack of animal welfare standards – these are all common practice in the US. And what about the absence of the precautionary principle in the US, by which we protect our consumers in the EU? EU policymakers try to have us believe they will make sure our food stays hormone-free, safe and up to EU standards. Today already dairy products from the US are crossing our borders, produced with the help of milk-stimulating hormones. We will sink to the lowest standards or will have an enormous distortion of competition.

The loss of border protection will disrupt our rural areas because price pressure will increase concentration in the dairy market and will cause family farms to disappear.

Farmers are no supermen, they cannot defy gravity, nor can they produce at higher costs and still hold their position in the market. That is how the market works: a simple survival of the fittest. And, in the eyes of our policymakers, retailers and trade companies, being competitive means nothing more than being the cheapest.

An EU-US trade deal means the loss of our democratic right to decide how we produce our food, who will produce it and where, so in fact corporate domination over food democracy. That is something we, as citizens, farmers and members of the EMB cannot accept. To the TTIP we say: No, thank you.

Sieta van Keimpema (Vice President of the EMB)

European elections in turbulent times

source: wiki commons

Against the backcloth of economic crises and widespread disenchantment with the project for a unified Europe, from 22 to 25 May the citizens of the EU Member States voted for their candidates vying for the 751 seats in the European Parliament in Strasburg. The low turn-out all across Europe of only about 43 per cent, and the electoral success of numerous parties which essentially oppose Europe, once again clearly demonstrated that at present the EU holds out no concrete solutions for the tough situation many people live in, and that the concept of Europe is not winning the hearts and minds of people in Europe.

In the end there were no major surprises in the elections, the outcome of which was as had been predicted by the media.

read more...

Farmers are the losers in the abolition of quotas

source: Martin Haab

The following interview with Martin Haab, President of the Swiss EMB member organisation BIG-M, was published on the www.schweizerbauer.ch website on 6 May. Five years after the end of the milk quotas in Switzerland, Martin Haab draws a negative conclusion and predicts a similarly unsatisfactory development for the abolition of quotas in the EU next year. The EMB study referred to in the article will be officially published shortly.

read more...

The Brussels authorities want to silence opposition to the “Transatlantic Agreement” (TTIP)

source: EMB

The following press release was published on 16 May by the Alliance D19-20 – in which the Belgian EMB member organisations MIG and FMB are actively involved – subsequent to a demonstration on the occasion of this year’s “European Business Summit” in Brussels.

On Thursday morning, 15 May, more than 1,000 people took to the streets of Brussels for a peaceful protest against austerity and the planned transatlantic agreement discussed behind closed doors at the European Business Summit.

read more...

Current figures: farm-gate price still cannot cover costs of production

Taking the EMB’s cost study as its basis, the MEG Milch Board developed the Milk Marker Index (MMI), which documents the ongoing course of production costs (base year 2010 = 100). The MMI for January 2014 is 109 points. It is published quarterly with a price-cost ratio, which shows the relation between the officially recorded farm-gate prices and the costs of milk production.

In Germany the milk price in January 2014 of 41.46 cents a kilo of milk was about 4 cents below the production costs of 45.16 cents a kilo, according to the latest cost study carried out by the German office for agriculture and agricultural sociology BAL.

read more...

Campaigns of action for World Milk Day

source: IG-Milch

World Milk Day is held every year on 1 June to publicise internationally the consumption of milk. It was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and is organised the world over. Campaigns and press events relating to the subject of milk are organised in numerous member countries of the EMB, primarily addressing consumers and publicising milk as a food. This year in various countries, e.g. Austria, the focus is also on the end of the milk quota system in 2015.

read more...

EMB Calendar

These are some of the EMB Board’s key dates in June 2014:

  • 03.06: TTIP discussion with civil society at the Directorate-General for Trade

  • 03.06: EMB Milk pooling meeting in Brussels

  • 18.06: Meeting with the Directorate-General for Agriculture on the calculation of costs (EMB full-cost study)

  • 23.06: Meeting with the French Ministry of Agriculture in Paris


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Full Texts

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European elections in turbulent times

source: wiki commons

Against the backcloth of economic crises and widespread disenchantment with the project for a unified Europe, from 22 to 25 May the citizens of the EU Member States voted for their candidates vying for the 751 seats in the European Parliament in Strasburg. The low turn-out all across Europe of only about 43 per cent, and the electoral success of numerous parties which essentially oppose Europe, once again clearly demonstrated that at present the EU holds out no concrete solutions for the tough situation many people live in, and that the concept of Europe is not winning the hearts and minds of people in Europe.

In the end there were no major surprises in the elections, the outcome of which was as had been predicted by the media. Despite significant losses the Conservative European People’s Party (EPP) emerged from the elections as the strongest political group with 213 seats, or 28 per cent. They were followed by the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) with 190 seats, the Liberal and Democrats (ALDE) with 64 seats, and the Greens (Greens/EFA) with 52 seats.

What is new, however, is that never before have so many Eurosceptic parties/parties totally opposed to the EU made the breakthrough to the European Parliament. Regardless of whether the French Front National, the German AFD, the British UKIP or the Greek Syriza party do in fact defend extremely different positions beyond their rejection of the EU, this development will represent a challenge for the new European Parliament’s work as a whole and by extension for the EMB’s political work. If we include the existing Eurosceptic “Europe of Freedom and Democracy” (EFD) party, there could be up to 143 out of the 751 seats in the new European Parliament whose occupants follow a different path of European integration. How the EMB will work together with these MEPs must be decided on a case-by-case basis. There is definitely potential for these Eurosceptics to include MEPs and parties receptive to stronger regulation of the EU milk market.

This time the European elections were particularly exciting for the longstanding member of the EMB Board from Belgium, Erwin Schöpges, who as an independent candidate for the Belgian Greens ran to represent his home region for the European Parliament. Although unfortunately he was beaten in the end by his challenger from the Belgian Conservatives, no doubt this outcome will be regarded from an EMB viewpoint with mixed feelings albeit tinged with relief, because as a result the organisation retains an extremely committed, experienced fellow campaigner for the concerns of European dairy farmers at the heart of political Europe.

It is therefore all the more pleasing that another EMB stalwart made it into the European Parliament. The National Chair of the German EMB member organisation AbL and active dairy farmer Maria Heubuch will enter the European Parliament in Strasburg on the German Greens’ list. The members of the EMB naturally extend their most sincere congratulations to her.

Despite the established parties’ losses, many MEPs on the EP Agriculture Committee with whom the EMB has worked together in a spirit of trust over the years were re-elected. The best-known of them are perhaps the Greens José Bové from France and Martin Häusling from Germany, as well as the French Conservative Michel Dantin, who came up with the original proposal for a voluntary delivery suspension. This also gives hope for a continuation in the future of the successful political work with the European Parliament. The EMB will carry out a detailed analysis of the MEPs elected and the chances of beneficial co-operation in July, when the composition of the new Agriculture Committee will have been determined.

What is more, there is an exciting prospect of the European People’s Party (EPP) candidate for the office of the President of the European Commission, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, really being elected to head up the European Commission – as previously announced – after the electoral victory of the European Conservatives. He has already received the support of the majority of the Members of the European Parliament. Regardless of personal preferences for a particular candidate, at all events it would also be a bonus for the culture of democracy in the EU.

Christian Schnier (EMB)

>

Farmers are the losers in the abolition of quotas

source: Martin Haab

The following interview with Martin Haab, President of the Swiss EMB member organisation BIG-M, was published on the www.schweizerbauer.ch website on 6 May. Five years after the end of the milk quotas in Switzerland, Martin Haab draws a negative conclusion and predicts a similarly unsatisfactory development for the abolition of quotas in the EU next year. The EMB study referred to in the article will be officially published shortly.

Five years after the abolition of the milk quotas things have quietened down. We don’t hear so much from BIG-M any more, either...

Martin Haab: It’s been quiet in the milk market over the last twelve months. But the reason has not been that the attitude of the milk producers has changed and everything is now running smoothly; instead it is because the milk price has been rising and the producers have felt secure. In such a scenario it is hard to mobilise people for campaigns of action. It is a false sense of security, though, when you see how the Swiss milk processors have been reacting to the international trend, especially in the milk powder segment. Quotas are also ending in the EU. That is why BIG-M has recently been very busy networking with its partner organisations on a European level. We are of the opinion that Europe will presumably suffer the same plight.

The European Milk Board (EMB) commissioned a study of the scrapping of quotas in Switzerland. What was its key conclusion for you?

This study officially states everything that has happened in the last ten years. It gives us in BIG-M a certain satisfaction that we have been right about the situation all along. Instead of wrangling we have called a spade a spade. Those farmers’ representatives and politicians who perhaps naively gave the nod to the scrapping of quotas back then made different assumptions: they thought the federal government would actively champion basic conditions for controlling volumes under private law. What was intended at the time was supply management, but that never came about. Farmers are the losers in the abolition of quotas. That is completely the opposite of the promises made when decisions were taken on the scrapping of quotas. Exactly the same thing will happen when quotas come to an end in the EU.

BIG-M is a founder member of the EMB. What do European dairy farmers say about the situation in Switzerland?

Our European colleagues understood that quotas were scrapped in Switzerland in a specific market situation. In the initial phase in 2007 the situation was a good one overall in the milk market. It was not until later that the situation on the international markets deteriorated. The current milk price in the EU is 41 cents a kilo. The signs are that it will fall. If that now coincides with the crisis in Russia, good production in Oceania, and an increase in the volume of milk in Europe after the abolition of quotas, the milk price will collapse even further than it did in Switzerland. If things go on like this in the coming months, I’d say the EU milk price will be below 30 cents a kilo in a year’s time.

The study highlights the disunity among producers. Why was there such a lack of unity among farmers?

It is impossible for the 23,000-odd dairy farmers to all sing from the same song sheet. When it comes down to implementing measures of solidarity you have the “free-rider” problem – those who only benefit from the solidarity of fellow professionals. So it’s understandable that more and more farmers are abandoning solidarity and only looking out for themselves. This state of affairs was exploited by certain market players, who promised the farmers the moon about market openings for extra milk produced. Some farmers believed the promises and increased their volumes. Yet in most cases the sales just weren’t there. When you see how these self-appointed milk prophets are now trying to dig themselves out of a hole, it’s totally wrong.

Is the fight for supply management lost, or could binding supply rights be on the cards again in future?

The fight for supply management would not actually be an issue. We would have segmentation and obligatory contracts. The contractual obligation would even be enshrined in law. If the segmentation and obligatory contracts were implemented in a way that would have an effect on volumes, then overproduction would be under control. The main problem is that the contractual obligation relating to volume, time and price has not been implemented.

Do you yourself have a valid contract?

I have a contract that says my milk purchaser ZMP collects the milk from me. The contract also stipulates milk price components, but it says nothing about the volume to be supplied, the breakdown into A, B or C milk, the timeframe or the price. Like me, most dairy farmers have no contract specifying volume and price for a one-year period, as actually stipulated in law.

Christian Schnier (EMB)

>

The Brussels authorities want to silence opposition to the “Transatlantic Agreement” (TTIP)

source: EMB

The following press release was published on 16 May by the Alliance D19-20 – in which the Belgian EMB member organisations MIG and FMB are actively involved – subsequent to a demonstration on the occasion of this year’s “European Business Summit” in Brussels.

On Thursday morning, 15 May, more than 1,000 people took to the streets of Brussels for a peaceful protest against austerity and the planned transatlantic agreement discussed behind closed doors at the European Business Summit.

Although there was no provocation, 281 people were violently arrested, including MEPs, Belgian and European candidates for the elections, trade union leaders, farmers and a large number of citizens, including senior citizens. The Mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, will have to answer for this disproportionate and violent action.

Emilie Paumard of the NGO CATDM explains “We took to the streets because the political leaders aren’t listening to us. They seem to be listening only to the big business leaders co-organising the European Business Summit. We were brutally treated as if we were violent criminals even though our demonstration was nothing but peaceful. This Europe with its police violence and the collusion between politicians, business and police is totally the opposite of the Europe for which Alliance D19-20, the Alter Summit and our European allies are campaigning.”

“The police provocation and the brutality of the repression are unacceptable. The least we can expect is for an inquiry to clarify who was responsible, especially since Yvan Mayeur’s office promised our delegation that the people arrested would be quickly released. The blame lies with either Mayor of Brussels Yvan Mayeur or Commissioner Vandersmissen. Ten days before the elections people have the right to know who lays down the law in Mayeur City, and which parties back this brutality. We are preparing a complaint and political lobbying”, says Felipe Van Keirsbilck, General Secretary of the CNE trade union.

Luc Hollands, a Belgian milk producer and member of the MIG, a member organisation of the EMB in Belgium, adds “The way in which the peaceful demonstrators were treated is unacceptable, but that should not make people forget the reason we were out in the streets. The austerity policies coupled with the transatlantic agreement will make the people of Europe even poorer, their situation more precarious, will damage their health and will drive us to the wall. It is not political attitudes that have to change, but the whole political system. Despite what the police showed us, today’s actions have underlined the diversity and unity of our alliance and only strengthen our resolve to rebuild democracy from the bottom up.”

Christian Schnier (EMB)

>

Current figures: farm-gate price still cannot cover costs of production

Taking the EMB’s cost study as its basis, the MEG Milch Board developed the Milk Marker Index (MMI), which documents the ongoing course of production costs (base year 2010 = 100). The MMI for January 2014 is 109 points. It is published quarterly with a price-cost ratio, which shows the relation between the officially recorded farm-gate prices and the costs of milk production.

In Germany the milk price in January 2014 of 41.46 cents a kilo of milk was about 4 cents below the production costs of 45.16 cents a kilo, according to the latest cost study carried out by the German office for agriculture and agricultural sociology BAL.

For January 2014 the price-cost ratio calculated by the MEG Milch Board shows a nationwide cost covering of 92 per cent, i.e. a deficit of 8 per cent. The chronic deficient cover of costs means that not only individual farms will disappear across Europe, but also entire milk production regions

EMB press release

>

Campaigns of action for World Milk Day

source: IG-Milch

World Milk Day is held every year on 1 June to publicise internationally the consumption of milk. It was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and is organised the world over.

Campaigns and press events relating to the subject of milk are organised in numerous member countries of the EMB, primarily addressing consumers and publicising milk as a food. This year in various countries, e.g. Austria, the focus is also on the end of the milk quota system in 2015. On the occasion of World Milk Day, IG-Milch is planning a press conference in the “Fairdinand” vintage bus to discuss the future of the milk market in a tour of Vienna.

This year France is involved in World Milk Day for the first time. Dairies are having an Open Day for the general public to see how the raw material milk is processed.

Regina Reiterer (EMB)

>

EMB Calendar

These are some of the EMB Board’s key dates in June 2014:

  • 03.06: TTIP discussion with civil society at the Directorate-General for Trade

  • 03.06: EMB Milk pooling meeting in Brussels

  • 18.06: Meeting with the Directorate-General for Agriculture on the calculation of costs (EMB full-cost study)

  • 23.06: Meeting with the French Ministry of Agriculture in Paris

Impressum

European Milk Board asbl
Rue de la Loi 155
B-1040 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 2808 1935
Fax: +32 2808 8265
E-Mail: office@europeanmilkboard.org
Website: http://www.europeanmilkboard.org