European Milk Board / 13 May 2020
Major European milk powder demonstrations with an appeal to the European Commission: “Let’s implement a volume reduction programme together!”
Dairy farmers call for shared responsibility in the sector
Press release / (Bruxelles/B) “We dairy farmers say YES to an EU-wide milk volume reduction scheme and NO to private storage aid for butter, milk powder and cheese as a crisis measure.” While dairy farmers across Europe turn to the Commission and the EU Member States with this appeal, a thick fog of skimmed milk powder spreads over fields in numerous French departments. At the same time, a huge stack of milk powder reaches up to the sky in the German capital in front of the Federal Chancellery, and dairy farmers in Italy, Denmark, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Belgium use milk powder campaign events to strongly demand appropriate crisis measures for the dairy sector.
According to Erwin Schöpges, Belgian dairy farmer and President of the European Milk Board (EMB), the many milk demonstrations send an important signal to policy-makers: “Skimmed milk powder has now become the EU-wide symbol for the misguided crisis measures implemented by the European Union in the dairy sector. These measures must take a different direction if they are to have any real effect in counteracting the crisis,” says Schöpges.
The Coronavirus crisis has caused the demand for milk products to collapse. As EMB Executive Committee member Roberto Cavaliere reports from Italy, the shut-down of schools, kindergartens and public institutions, coupled with the almost complete standstill in the hospitality and catering sector, has led to a drastic reduction in the purchase of milk products. “We are currently producing way too much milk and this volume needs to be reduced EU-wide. We dairy farmers are ready to take on our share of the responsibility and participate in a volume reduction programme coordinated by the European Commission,” says Cavaliere. However, this is not what the EU is proposing.
His colleague Boris Gondouin, who is a dairy farmer in France and an EMB Executive Committee member as well, is rightfully upset – like so many European dairy farmers – that the European Commission has decided to back subsidies for private storage. “These subsidies do absolutely nothing to change the difficult reality faced by dairy farmers during the Coronavirus crisis. Especially milk prices for producers are falling. However, 30 million euros – as announced provisionally – are spent on subsidies for processed milk products and will go to the private industry. This means that the current EU measure was taken for the processing industry, not for the farmers.“ Johannes Pfaller, dairy farmer in Germany and EMB Executive Committee member, adds: “It is totally absurd to waste resources to make products for which there is no demand. Simply for these products to then be put into storage using subsidies.”
further information: European Milck Board (EMB), www.europeanmilkboard.org