Europe’s struggling dairy farmers have won political support in their fight against falling prices, which they say have pushed them to the brink of bankruptcy. Farmers’ desperation is growing rapidly. The first protests erupted in France and Belgium, then spread quickly across Europe. Italian and Spanish farmers are expected to join in what may become an all-out strike.
In view of that, the European Commission is ready to allow the dairy industry fast-track national funds. “Not everyone, I must say, agrees with my preferred solutions, but I strongly believe that these solutions are working, that they will work, and they are solutions we can defend politically,” said EU Agriculture Commisioner Mariann Fischer Boel. The Commission has long championed de-regulation in Europe, but appears to have listened to the critics. “This ‘laissez faire’ attitude is unsustainable: it has terrible consequences in terms of employment and traditional land use,” said Green MEP Jose Bove. “There will be no Europe without farmers,” he warned. Europe’s dairy farmers have struggled for months against falling prices, caused to an extent by the recession, but also by the political decision to progressively lift production quotas, before abolishing them completely in 2015.