Faced with a crisis in the dairy sector that in the last year has eradicated thousands of dairy farmers, pushed others to the brink of bankruptcy and mobilized thousands across Europe, it was reasonable to expect solutions from EU Agriculture Ministers yesterday. However, this did not happen. The measures taken by the Council not only will not solve the problem of over-production, surplus and prices below production costs but can further aggravate the current situation.
Not limiting production in a collective and mandatory manner, on top of new aids at the national level, may further encourage overproduction and create unfair competition between countries. This decision does not take into account the highly diverse and mismatched reality of the EU, where some industries and food distributors are determining where and who produces. Voluntary regulation entrusted on producer and Interbranch organisations do not address a situation that was provoked by the EU’s erratic policies of eliminating market regulating instruments, such as milk quotas, and intervention prices in line with production costs.
Through the decisions taken yesterday by the Council, the European Union has deliberately turned its back not only on a large part of its population, but also on a model of sustainable and quality food production and the project of European integration. It makes no sense that in the framework of the EU common market we talk of voluntary reduction initiatives at the local and national level.
Given this reality, ECVC will continue to fight for public policies aimed, on the one hand, at the immediate, mandatory and concerted reduction of production (short term) and, on the other, at establishing a crisis prevention mechanism. Only these measures can put an end to the tragedy experienced by dairy producers in Europe.
• Jose Miguel Pacheco Goncalves (Coordinating Committee – ECVC) : 0035 19 6872 1995
• Isabel Villalba (Sindicato Labrego Galego – ECVC) : 0034 60 890 5444
• Andoni Garcia (Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos – ECVC): 0034 63 645 1569
• Geneviève Savigny (Coordinating Committee – ECVC) : 0033 62 555 1687