Dairy crisis requires sustainable solutions, not free market volatility
GUE/NGL MEPs have called for a major EU policy shift in the dairy industry, including compulsory production, sustainable farming methods, balancing supply and demand, redistributing production, and preventing prices from dropping below the production cost price.
During the debate in the European Parliament this morning, the MEPs also slammed the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, who put blame for the crisis in the dairy sector on the farmers.
GUE/NGL Coordinator on the Agriculture Committee, Lidia Senra Rodríguez, stated: "Mr Hogan, it's a lie to say that resolving the crisis depends on the farmers. The crisis has been produced by the European institutions and they are the ones who have to find the solution."
She also criticised Hogan's suggestion that the crisis will be solved by the member states, with more state aid: "Greater aid in the member states to tackle the crisis means that Southern farmers from countries that have been impoverished by the European Union will lose out. It will hit those in the peripheral regions particularly hard."
"We need a policy shift. For example: compulsory production, balancing supply and demand, and redistributing production amongst producers around the European Union. We must have prices that cannot fall below the production cost price. We need sustainable production methods geared towards the needs of the internal market.
"This crisis is a consequence of destroying public policy and it clearly shows that the international market is a mirage. This has condemned small dairy farmers and left them completely vulnerable with their fate being determined by the distribution circle and the big operators. Be responsible for once!"
Irish MEP, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, also addressed the Commissioner: "It is beyond comprehension how the Commissioner can blame the farmers. The farmers who have had a half day's work done before you turned up late for this meeting."
"If you want to blame someone, go after the supermarkets who are making an absolute killing out of this, go after the processors. The financial markets are making money out of this, the banks are making money out of it, as you know the cooperative directors are making money out of this – 9 million euros between nine of them over the past 2 years. You are making money out of this – 300,000 euros."
"It's time the people who got up early and did the work got the money, and not people like you," he concluded.
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20