The European Commission’s long-awaited report into dairy farming – due to be published later this week – will disappoint farmers protesting about low milk prices here in Strasbourg.
These farmers want Brussels to stop dismantling production quotas, which they say will stabilise milk prices – which have been falling since 2007. They want the EU to regulate the dairy market, complaining that supermarket giants use their purchasing power to buy milk at less than the cost of producing it. The Commission however is expected to say that more regulation is out of the question. No reduction or even freeze in quotas is possible as this would not be in line with the Common Agricultural Policy. A crumb of comfort for farmers however is that the Commission says it will take action against any proven abuse of market position by supermarkets. The Commission is also expected to advise dairy farmers to form their own larger, more powerful marketing groups so as to improve their negotiating position with supermarkets. In a further move to help farmers the Commission is also expected to authorise national governments to subsidise milk producers with grants of up to 15,000 euros per farm. ENDS 01.24