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CAP reform and quotas to dominate dairy conference

A major conference on the future of the European dairy industry takes place in Dublin over the next three days.

The event, which kicks off this morning and runs until Thursday, is being hosted by the ICMSA.

Representatives from 14 farm organisations across Europe that are affiliated to the European Milk Board (EMB) will take part in the conference.

The future of the European dairy sector post-CAP reform in 2013 and the abolition of the milk quotas in 2015 will dominate the agenda.

The conference, which takes place at the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport, will address ongoing challenges to the European dairy sector.

The milk package presented by Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos last December and the proposed mandatory contracts for milk suppliers will be central to the discussions. EMB is concerned that measures have not been included in Commissioner Ciolos' package to prevent a reccurrence of the catastrophic market price collapse that occurred over the 18 months to mid-2010.

From an Irish perspective the introduction of what are termed 'block exemptions' for European milk suppliers will certainly be of interest.

Since many dairies on the Continent do not have a co-op structure, block exemptions are a method of enabling farmers to come together to agree milk prices, while not infringing competition regulations. Some unease has been expressed that changes to Europe's milk regime will result in greater nationalisation of the internal market.

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