Pressure is mounting on the EU Commission to do more to help hard hit diary farmers. Ministers met in Brussels to discuss a French German rescue plan, but division remains on the best way forward.
EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel said: ‘‘It’s not the protests that are causing the problems. It’s simply a question of lower demand from consumers. That is the reason and I can guarantee that it would make no difference if we discussed the quotas. What farmers need to do is produce less. Simply produce less.’‘
The Franco-German plan backed by Austria is demanding an increase in subsidies and other measures to end the crisis.
French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier said: ‘‘If we can fully use and maybe improve the tools for intervention that we have — storage, presentation, support for exports. We can re-examine the milk quotas so that producers will understand better that it’s not only the law of the market that counts.’‘
Dairy farmers in several EU countries have been piling pressure on their governments in recent months to support prices and shore up farmers incomes.
At least 5 member EU states are calling for a pause in annual milk quotas, which are due to be scrapped in 2015.