European milk producers are considering a continent-wide strike, depending on the outcome of a meeting of the EU’s agriculture ministers next Monday.
Dairy farmers’ organisations have been demonstrating their frustration over policy in Brussels, calling for an urgent return of price and quantity controls. French farmers’ activist Jose Bove said: “The rules today are catastrophic. The European Commission has understood nothing. Mrs. Fischer Boel tells us she stands for compassion, while the producers plead for justice.” Mariann Fischer Boel, the current agriculture authority, spoke with members of the European Parliament in the morning. Jose Bove was elected to the assembly in June. She acknowledged that Europe’s milk situation was serious, though adding the global milk market was showing signs of improvement. The European Milk Board said: “We propose that we only produce what we can sell in Europe, and outside Europe at the raised price of forty eurocents per litre, to cover our costs and let farmers make a living.” With prices hitting 50-year lows, the Milk Board said, the market needs intervention, if Europe’s milk producers are to survive.