flag de flag gb flag fr
Legal notice     European Milk Board ASBL | Rue de la Loi 155 | B-1040 Bruxelles

News Details

PDF-Icon Icon-Print

06.10.2011

Press Release: EU Council Ignores Threat to Milk Producers’ Livelihood

In negotiations on the dairy market reform, the EU Council obstinately opposes major progress such as a monitoring agency and binding contracts for dairies throughout the EU

Brussels/Hamm, 06.10.2011: “It is incomprehensible how the Council of the EU is blocking major progress in the dairy market with its obstinate attitude”, is how the President of the European Milk Board (EMB), Romuald Schaber, sums it up. At present the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council are holding negotiations on the Milk Package – a first reform of the dairy market. “It is obvious from the Council’s first working document that the Council is ignoring the proposals included by the European Parliament, which could at least bring about some minor progress towards overcoming the crisis”, says Schaber.

For instance, the Parliament proposes an EU-wide obligation to have contracts between producers and dairies, which the Council rejects. These contracts, which would have to be guided by production costs and negotiated by producer organisations across the board with the dairies, give producers the chance to obtain a fair price for their milk. This will not be achieved if – as the Council evidently intends – each individual member state is to decide whether it introduces compulsory contracts or not.

As the Council’s working document goes on to show, what is referred to as the monitoring agency, proposed by the Parliament after talks with the EMB, is not to be included in the final dairy market regulation. According to the Parliament, this agency’s initial function should be to collect market data on volume, price and costs. Even if no active supply management is planned yet, the monitoring agency as a market observer would be a beginning at least. Schaber explains the importance of this market instrument: “Once the state quota system comes to an end, it is only through a monitoring agency that we can prevent damaging surplus volumes being produced and the market plunging deeper into crisis.”

The problem is also that the Council intends to put very severe limits on the size of producer organisations that negotiate contracts with dairies on behalf of milk producers: 33% of the national milk production and 3.5% of EU production. That is not enough to give producer organisations the requisite bargaining power. Dairies achieve a share of up to 95% of the national market. This enables them to simply dictate contractual terms and conditions – and with it inordinately low prices – to a producer organisation that is never allowed to achieve such numbers.

Whereas before in the EU only the Council and Commission worked everything out amongst themselves, now the Parliament has to be included in decisions on the new dairy market reform. It is questionable, though, whether this will actually result in more democracy. “Unfortunately, as you can see, the old “double act” – Council and Commission – looks as though it still does not want to take the Parliament’s opinion on board”, is how Schaber criticises the situation in Brussels. Do the policy-makers want to solve the crisis or merely pretend they are doing something? Inactivity will quickly reproduce the Swiss situation in the EU. In 2009 the Swiss legislator abolished the quotas without bringing in a sensible follow-up regulation for the dairy market. Since then, farm-gate prices have been in a downward spiral. For the European milk producers it is incomprehensible how the EU Council in particular is being so irresponsible and ignorant in wasting every opportunity to bring balance into the dairy market and overcome the severe crisis. The problems in milk production are not being taken seriously; the protesting dairy farmers are simply being ignored. Politicians have forgotten that it was their protests that forced them to put the situation in the dairy sector on the political agenda.

Contact: Silvia Däberitz, EMB Press Officer (DE, EN, ES): 0049 2381 4361 200



 


EMB – European Milk Board, Office

Bahnhofstraße 31, D – 59065 Hamm, Germany

Tel.: 0049 – 2381 – 4360495

Fax: 0049 – 2381 – 4361153

office@europeanmilkboard.org

www.europeanmilkboard.org


Please click here for a pdf-version of this document

 


More News

30.08.2016

Shift of direction of EU milk policy: milk volumes to be cut

EU measures for voluntary production cuts in place

19.08.2016

Canadian National Farmers Union suggests Hogan supply management system

European Union, 2014

The president of the Canadian NFU has written to the EU's agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan: Jan Slomp encourages Hogan to adopt a Canadian-style supply management system in order to end the European dairy crisis. Letter on dairy crisis sent to Commissioner Hogan (July 22)

12.08.2016

Dairy farmers' protests in Europe

England: Dairy farmers blockade Müller site over milk price freeze About 80 farmers have joined the blockade of the Müller site in Shropshire on August 7, organised by Farmers For Action. The action was prompted by Müller’s announcement to hold its standard non-aligned liquid milk price for September at about 18p/litre (ca....

09.08.2016

Newsletter August online!

As we go deeper and deeper into the crisis, we can see that it is crucial to really do something about the oversupply of milk that is putting so much pressure on the prices. To those who say that such a policy signifies a lack of confidence in the post-quota EU dairy sector, I would make one simple point:  it’s high time...

02.08.2016

Appeal to the EU Ministers for Agriculture and the EU Commission

Make sure you organise the voluntary restraint on supply properly! It’s the only way to stabilise the market

19.07.2016

No consequent action to combat the crisis in the dairy sector

The measures adopted by the Agriculture Council are far from enough to overcome the crisis

15.07.2016

No end in sight for the horrors plaguing the dairy sector

Current cost calculations still show disastrous shortfall in cost coverage in milk production