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21.11.2018

European farmers show solidarity and speak with one voice:

"We call for a responsible dairy policy and an effective structure for the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU"

(Zell am Harmersbach/Brussels, 22 November 2018) At their latest Members' Assembly in Germany, the 20 dairy farmer associations of the European Milk Board (EMB) reiterated their demand for a healthy dairy market. While meeting in the Black Forest, producers from all over Europe agreed that an effective crisis instrument as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, cost-covering prices and fair producer income are key requirements for a sustainable dairy sector. These features are absolutely necessary to ensure generational renewal as well.

At this year's Members' Assembly on 20 and 21 November 2018 in the Black Forest in southern Germany, the national member organisations of the EMB discussed the current situation and future strategies of the umbrella organisation for European dairy farmers. The Assembly spoke in favour of solidarity and of finding a European solution for the dairy sector.

 

Reactions from EMB dairy farmers at the Assembly

Stefan Lehmann (48 years, Germany)

I am glad that we were able to host this Assembly of European dairy farmers here in the Black Forest. It was great to see that as the EMB, we are making progress with our proposals and are thus obliging EU policy-makers to take measures to support sustainable milk production.

Jonas Vilionis (71 years, Lithuania)

Today's meeting showed that while countries sometimes have different interests, the problems we face are still the same. It is thus even more important to find common solutions.

Adrien Lefèvre (28 years, France)

I am happy to be part of this cross-border solidarity between EMB members. I have been able to develop real friendships with dairy farmers of different nationalities. We are all working toward the same goal: fair remuneration for our work.

Werner Locher (64 years, Switzerland)

In my opinion, a very clear will emerged from the discussions at the Assembly – to continue to work in solidarity toward a common goal, in spite of the very different conditions in individual countries.

 

A robust foundation for the European dairy market

Everyone agrees that the European dairy market needs effective instruments to deal with recurring market crises, climatic anomalies and the range of requirements underpinning the sector. It is therefore essential to expand the Common Agricultural Policy to include prevention of future crises as well as flexible production volume adjustment in the face of market fluctuations. "Voluntary production cuts during crises – a key feature of the EMB Market Responsibility Programme – must be anchored in the CAP as a permanent instrument," said EMB President Erwin Schöpges. "We must break the never-ending cycle of dairy crises and create a robust foundation for the market." He went on to say that cost-covering prices and fair remuneration for the daily work done on farms is even more important. Financial stability is a precondition to ensuring a future for young farmers.

European milk producers want to increase pressure on EU policy-makers

Stefan Mann, Chairman of the German dairy farmers' association BDM, is looking to hold policy-makers in the countries and in Brussels accountable. "I want to encourage policy-makers to make the right decisions so as to prevent the loss of value creation in rural areas." He concluded that such losses, like poor milk prices, are eventually borne by society.

The European Milk Board plans to continue their discussions with dairy-policy representatives at all levels. However, the national associations clearly spoke in favour of sending a clear message to policy-makers as well. "Our European colleagues were very clear that the pressure on Brussels must be increased and we must get their attention through strong actions if policy-makers were to send us toward the next crisis with their eyes wide open," says Schöpges, summarising the conclusions of the Members' Assembly.

 

Contacts

EMB President Erwin Schöpges (DE, FR): +32 (0)497 904547
BDM Chairman Stefan Mann (DE): +49 (0)160 3524702
EMB Press Officer Regina Reiterer (DE, EN, FR): +32 (0)2808 1934


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