EMB Newsletter January 2019
Dear dairy farmers, dear interested parties,
I wish you all a Happy New Year 2019!
2009 – that’s ten years ago now – was a significant year for the European Milk Board (EMB) and for every dairy farmer in Europe.
There were huge demonstrations, milk supply strikes and especially major milk-spraying campaigns in many European countries ten years ago. Nobody has forgotten the dumping of millions of litres of milk in Belgium’s Ciney and in French Normandy at Mont St.-Michel.
At that time, we showed we could not put up with producing a high-quality foodstuff for milk prices below 25 cents. We warned the political decision-makers that a total deregulation of the milk market would have catastrophic consequences. Unfortunately, we were right. Our studies on the costs of milk production clearly demonstrate that the gap between the farm-gate milk price and production costs is widening drastically. And the countless numbers of farms closing down across Europe are evidence that the unconditional liberalisation was an utterly wrong decision. Let alone all the personal tragedies and family dramas created by the economic situation over all the years.
2019 has already started out as being very unsteady. Our costs are skyrocketing, not least because of the impact of the summer drought. In Belgium, the dairies have already announced a base price below 30 cents for January. We know from experience that the Belgian farm-gate prices are an indicator of price development in the other member states. As there are the European elections in May 2019, not much more can be expected from the European Parliament and the current EU Commission. Many EU member states also have unstable governments that dare not risk new approaches. What seems positive to me is that a pan-European popular movement is arising to revolt against the current system – a system serving only the profit of a few large corporations and becoming rich at the expense of the people.
We, the EMB, will not idly sit by and watch how the industrialisation of milk production is being pursued, how it is being made harder and harder for young people to carry on running family farms built up over generations.
We will continue to jointly promote the unity of European farmers. The political decision-makers should never forget the movement launched by milk producers in 2009 and developed in the subsequent years. We demand milk prices that cover our costs and secure a fair income for producers. The politicians must create the framework to prevent crises from happening. We call for the immediate implementation of our Market Responsibility Programme. Another year of crisis would be catastrophic, let alone another 2009!
We are starting 2019 full of motivation and drive!
Erwin Schöpges, President of the European Milk Board