Tractors will be out on the streets of Brussels again as dairy farmers from all over Europe vent their anger over falling milk prices. And they are taking a mobile cow-shed to the meeting where agriculture ministers are under growing pressure to do something about the falling market that one union is calling “catastrophic.”
French farmer Jean Monxifrot said: “We will continue our protests to put pressure on the milk-processors so they won’t cheat on us again.” German farmers are demonstrating too. They are Europe’s biggest milk producers but other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe have been hit hard as well. They say prices paid by the commercial dairies have fallen 30 per cent in a year. Oliver Picot from the French Federation of Milk Industries said: “Most of the milk produced in France and the rest of Europe is exported as butter and milk powder, and these markets are at their lowest level ever, because China doesn’t buy anymore, the Russian market is closed, and so on.” As the feeling among farmers turns increasing sour, several unions want the EU to cut milk production to boost the price, but the European Commission has ruled that out. It is looking considering other measures, like early payments of subsidies.