Brussels briefing: 'The Commission will always stand by farmers' - Juncker
Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30
Milk won't be cheaper than water as long as Jean-Claude Juncker is European Commission chief.
In his flagship annual speech this year, Mr Juncker pledged to "preserve" the EU's agricultural sector, which he called "a strong part of our European way of life".
"The Commission will always stand by our farmers, particularly when they go through difficult moments, as is the case today," he said. "I will not accept that milk is cheaper than water."
EU and national officials met last week to discuss the dairy crisis, including the available safety net for the sector under the CAP, decoupled payments and price observatories.
The move comes the week after EU agriculture ministers agreed on the need for an EU-wide response to help farmers deal with price and other pressures from commodity markets and supermarket giants.
Slovak finance minister Gabriela Matená, said that farmers "must have fair trade conditions throughout the common market." Afterwards agriculture minister Michael Creed said: "I think experience in Ireland and elsewhere has shown that voluntary or self-regulatory approaches to dealing with unfair trading practices are of limited value. I would therefore welcome a more active Commission interest in EU legislation," he said.
The Commission has set aside €1bn since last September to aid mainly dairy and pork farmers following market volatility, the end of milk quotas and the Russian import ban.
What it means for the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), however, is not clear.