European Dairy Industry: A Look At 2009

EU - The European Milk Board takes a look at what the dairy industry has achieved over the last 12 months.
calendar icon 23 December 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The movement has become so much stronger and the EU politicians have had to react, as has been evident in the past few months. Extraordinary meetings of Ministers, milk as an issue at every European Ministers of Agriculture Conference, the setting up of an EU Commission High Level Group to come up with measures to combat the milk market crisis – it all shows that the milk producers’ concerns are being taken seriously because they have to be taken seriously.

The reason is that tens of thousands of farmers throughout Europe have protested intensively and will carry on protesting. There have been countless campaigns of action all over Europe. Once again we report in this Newsletter on examples of direct action taken. Such as the ongoing protests in France and Eastern Europe and the 20th of November, when a huge eye was erected in Brussels outside the building where the European Ministers were meeting, symbolising the close eye the European milk producers are keeping on the politicians. These joint protests and the extremely active inter-communication in general this year have made the milk producers’ pan-European movement even livelier.

As yet the political outcome still falls short of expectations, partly because some Commissioners and Ministers still believe that a policy of subsidies can put an end to the milk market problems. And yet the signs of a change in thinking are there. The nomination of a new EU Commissioner of Agriculture, for instance, opens up new possibilities in the political dialogue. Read the brief introduction to the Romanian Dacian Ciolos, who is expected to become Mariann Fischer Boel’s successor.

However, positive signs do not mean that we can now rest on our laurels. It is an important start, the proverbial “foot in the door”. Now we have to stick at it in 2010, and not just by appealing to the politicians. Strengthening the milk producers’ market position is still a vital task for the EMB, for the dairy farmers of Europe themselves. Forces have to be united and milk pooled throughout Europe – flexible supply control on the producer side is what we want.

2009 also made one thing clear: the general public is behind the European farmers. Displays and declarations of solidarity have been made in every social sphere – from environmental protection groups, development organisations, from politics, the Church, dairy farmers from Central America, Africa, from people all over the world. A further key indication that society has become aware is the nomination of an EMB organisation, the DDB (Dutch Dairymen Board), for the European Democracy Award in connection with the milk producer protests.

In spite of all the EU directives, milk production in Europe also means country-specific differences in certain areas. To give you an overview of what is known as netting we are starting in this issue of the Newsletter with a series on the various netting systems.

Further Reading

- You can view the full newsletter by clicking here.

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