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News Details

News Details

Reality check a major blow to political objectives

The objective of having a regional, independent, and sustainable agriculture cannot be reached with the current EU policy. Reforms are urgently needed!

(Berlin, 19 January 2023)

More independence and better food security

More regional production

Small and medium-sized farms, along with greener farms, should be the backbone of European agriculture

Consistently sustainable farming


Numerous are those – farmers, consumers, and political representatives – who fully support such an image of agriculture. It depicts an optimistic future that will equally benefit consumers, producers, and the EU as a whole. As the European Milk Board’s (EMB) Executive Committee representatives highlighted during their press conference at this year’s International Green Week, in Berlin, this idea of our future agriculture is, in fact, far from being realistic. Quite the contrary. A large part of the political aspirations and strategies that help shape the agricultural economy go against these objectives. Portraying these very objectives as wishful thinking is probably the most apt description they can be given.

This farming sector lacks a solid bedrock

Instead of having a healthy production structure, the EU farming system is eroding and had led to a drastic reduction in the number of farms in Europe, falling from 15 million to 10 million between 2003 and 2016. And this trend is set to continue in the coming years, those most affected by these developments being small and medium-sized farms. In spite of the difficult work farmers carry out, considerably lower profit margins and a meagre income are taking their toll on the sector, pushing farms to close down and depriving younger generations of any prospects of starting their own business.

The EMB’s Chair, Kjartan Poulsen, also fails to see any potential for a sustainable change given the current developments: “Although the milk price is currently higher than usual and costs are covered for the first time in some regions, this does not make up for the major losses farmers have incurred over the past decades.” On top of that, costs are increasing exponentially, and the prospect of prices soon being lowered means that their income will, once again, be put under enormous pressure. As he pointed out, the major political objectives cannot be reached if the sector does not undergo any reforms or isn’t stabilised in a consistent manner.


These regulations, measures and reforms play an essential role to reform the EU’s farming sector:

  • An EU-wide regulation banning the selling of products below their cost of production
  • An actual involvement of farmers in the development of concepts and in the implementation of the Green Deal, and providing them with the adequate tools
  • Adequate crisis instruments in the EU agricultural system
  • Different objectives and a different structure for the CDG Milk and the MMO (Milk Market Observatory)
  • Strong horizontal producer organisations that, without the exception of cooperatives, pool producers for a better negotiating position
  • Mirror clauses in the EU’s trade regulations
  • Removing agriculture from the WTO and free-trade agreements
  • Openly strengthen and expand the Fair Milk projects in the EU


“The EU is able to come up with goals that are good for the current agricultural policy”, says EMB Vice-chair Elmar Hannen regarding current political practices. “But when these objectives are being given a reality check because the wrong course has been set, or because the right course has not been set, then neither we farmers nor the consumers will benefit from the catchy slogans that these goals actually are.”

Download press release as PDF



EMB Chair Kjartan Poulsen (EN, DE, DK): +45 (0)21 28 88 99
EMB Vice-Chair Elmar Hannen (DE): +49 (0)175 6378484
EMB Management Silvia Däberitz (EN, FR, DE): +32 (0)2 808 1936