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

28.04.2017

Demo in Switzerland: “No more milk sleaze!”

Yesterday (27.4.) the farmers’ organisation Uniterre carried out a symbolic demonstration with “ghost busters” outside the head office of the Swiss milk producer organisation SMP. “With its current composition the SMP producer organisation is incapable of fulfilling its duty of representing dairy farmers in the milk market. We...

18.04.2017

Only 77 per cent of production costs in the German dairy sector covered by the farm-gate price

(Brussels, 18.04.2017) As shown by the latest cost study drawn up by the German Office for Agriculture and Agricultural Sociology (Büro für Agrarsoziologie & Landwirtschaft, BAL), in January 2017 the average price of 33.76 cents for a kilo of milk covered only 77 per cent of the costs (43.74 cents). The study,...

05.04.2017

Newsletter April online!

In Spring 2016, there were many challenges facing the Irish agri-food sector - particularly the dairy sector - but a threat to our single largest export market wasn’t one of them. One year later, that threat is a reality and much of our government’s planning and policymaking takes place in the shadow cast by ‘Brexit’. ...

30.03.2017

"EU volume reduction programme has proven itself"

Milk producers from all parts of Europe see voluntary production cuts as an important instrument for the future and demand that it be included in a permanent crisis mechanism

21.03.2017
16.03.2017

Letter campaign by European dairy farmers

French farmer suicides unleash a wave of solidarity

09.03.2017

Newsletter March online!

It is no secret that the EU Common Agricultural Policy is in need of reform. The last few years have shown that we urgently need sustainable, responsible agricultural production. And yes, it is true: the first small steps in this direction have been taken in the dairy sector. Read more