Dairy farmers across Europe have succeeded in winning some concessions from the EU in the battle to get financial help to ride out plummeting milk prices. Outside a meeting of EU ministers in Brussels, about 1000 farmers demanded a cut in production quotas to force up the price they get for a litre.
They did not get it. Instead, the European Commission is bringing forward subsidy payments which were originally due to be made in December. Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said: “The most important measure today was the announcement that we will be, according to the financial legislation, able to make possible for member states to pay 70% of the direct payments, from 16th October to alleviate some difficult situation that some farmers are facing.” Thousands turned out to protest in other European cities, but as the ministers sat down in Brussels to discuss the farmers’ plight, the anger outside spilled over. The European Milk Board says exports to the Middle East and Asia have crumbled because of the world financial crisis.