Stalemate continues at EU level over quota ‘soft landing’

Stalemate continues at EU level over additional measures to ensure a ‘soft landing’ to milk quota abolition in 2015, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney.

He said at each Agriculture Council over the last year the issue a ‘soft landing’ to milk quota abolition in 2015 was discussed.

“I, and some other like-minded Ministers, consistently called on the Commission to take action to ease the burden of the super levy in the final year of the quota regime but such an agreement was not forthcoming at the time and this remains the case,” he said.

The Minister said as there is no common position at the Council of Agriculture Ministers such an improvement looks unlikely to be achieved.

He said it must be clearly noted that a number of other countries are opposed to any action on this and have sought to link the issue to possible measures to regulate supply after quotas are gone.

“I am obviously resolutely opposed to any talk of supply controls after quota abolition next April on the basis that these quotas have only served to shackle Irish farmers over the last 30 years.”

Minister Coveney said the resultant stalemate means there is insufficient support for any change to the regulations and no agreement has been possible.

The Minister said he will continue to seek to have the matter progressed in a way that is fair to both Irish and EU dairy farmers.

Latest figures from the Department of Agriculture estimated that Ireland was 6.93% over quota in September.

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