The battles lines are being drawn in the ongoing war over milk prices, which have fallen by 50% since 2007, meaning that some European dairy farmers complain that they sell their milk for less than it costs to produce it.
On one side are the farmers from the European Milk Board (EMB) who believe that strong market regulation is the answer. They want a 5% reduction in milk quotas, and in today’s meeting the president of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, Paulo De Castro, agreed with them. He said “You have to realise that the CAP isn’t only a policy for 10 million farmers, but also for 500 million European citizens. And we hope to defend the CAP against all attacks.” Pascal Massol from the EMB expressed his satisfaction with the results of the meeeting: “The parliament’s position is encouraging. It’s a breath of fresh air. Now, we the milk producers have to pile the pressure onto the European Parliament so that they in their turn will put pressure on the European Commission.” On their side however, farmers from the Copa-Cogeca federation agree with the European Commission – which advocates a free market approach, advising producers to join forces and negotiate better prices from supermarkets. Both sides have strong supporters. But the European Commission is not likely to back down anytime soon. Tomorrow they will publish their long-awaited report which is expected to say that no freeze – let alone reduction – of milk quotas is in the pipeline. The milk wars are set to continue.