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

22.02.2017

Germany: Keep at it is the mantra

It is clear from the implementation of the volume discipline measures included in the 2nd EU aid package: Significant contributions to market stability can be made with minimal red tape. All the necessary information - for the EU as well as the national component - can fit on an A4 sheet and can be provided online. The...

09.02.2017

Newsletter February online!

Our milk powder action on January 23 definitely "stirred things up" - photographs of the powder-dusted Council building did the rounds in the international media. Read more

08.02.2017

Danish analysts see the development of farm-gate prices positively, but differently

The National Association of Danish Dairy Farmers (LDM) invited three market analysts to a recent Danish agricultural exhibition to give their view on the progress of on-account prices. The first market analyst, who is known to be conservative but also very well-informed, expects a largely unchanged farm-gate milk price with...

23.01.2017

In a major milk powder action in Brussels, European milk producers demand:

Stop selling intervention milk powder! - Draft a law for a permanent crisis instrument!

19.01.2017

The dairy crisis is far from over - there is still a long way to go to achieve stability on the dairy market!

European milk producers demand legal framework for permanent crisis instrument

18.01.2017

Press invitation: The milk crisis is far from over

There is still a lot to do before we have a stable market!

16.01.2017

Dairy sector remains significantly in the red

Milk prices cover only 59 percent and 67 percent of production costs in the Netherlands and Germany respectively