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MEPs Back Support for Milk Sector

21 October 2009

EU - MEPs will vote on an emergency plan to help the crisis-stricken dairy sector on Thursday after the Agriculture Committee approved the Commission's proposal on Monday evening to allocate €280 million to the dairy industry.


Dairy farmers pour milk onto the street in front of Schleswig-Holstein's ministry of agriculture in Kiel, Germany, 22 September 2009. Some 100 farmers demanded higher producer prices for milk.
[Photo: European Parliament]

German Christian Democrat, Albert Dess welcomed the aid, but underlined that each country must be able to decide how it will be distributed.

Portuguese Socialist, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos was "happy the Commission has eventually realised that more action is needed to help the sector, as we asked."

On Tuesday, MEPs agreed to fast track the dossier and is set to vote on the emergency plans today (22 October). The first aspect is to allow national governments to use money from surplus levies (usually paid to Brussels when national production thresholds are exceeded) to finance restructuring projects for the agriculture sector. The extra funds will be made available, the Commissioner explained, thanks to "a temporary stricter application of quota management."

The second part of the plan would allow the Commission to quickly adopt counter-measures in cases of serious market disturbances in the dairy sector.

British Liberal George Lyon warned the Agriculture Committee that "the measures can penalise more efficient producers." He said Parliament should reflect carefully before granting the Commission new powers. British Conservative James Nicholson said the plan is a short-term solution for a very long-term problem.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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