Hogan: ‘Continuing to increase milk production is not sustainable in the current market’

European Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan has given his clearest signal yet that any new aid funds for dairy farmers will be linked to cuts in production.

Speaking at yesterday’s Agriculture Council meeting Hogan said that despite the extensive range of
measures taken over the last year or so, the market remains weak and income for producers is
severely affected.

Another dairy aid package is currently being considered by the European Commission and will be presented to EU Agriculture Ministers in July.

“We have made progress on the demand side, in particular in growing exports and I’m confident that
we will continue to do so.

“However, that progress is being outstripped by the continuing increase in production. I have said, many times, that the imbalance in the dairy sector is a global one, not confined to Europe.

“However, that does not mean that we should not take some responsibility. Indeed, we are bound to take our share of responsibility,” Hogan told EU Agriculture Ministers this week.

Hogan said given that there are limitations on what can be done to encourage demand, we must inevitably focus on the supply side of the equation.

“While our analysis is still ongoing, we have to look at all of the instruments available to us and consider whether or not or on what terms access to those instruments continues to be available.

“I am, of course, conscious that the crisis in the European dairy sector is one being experienced in every Member State, even if more acutely felt in some than in others.

“Therefore, any new package will, in addition to addressing stabilisation and reduction of production, also have to be equitable in its treatment of dairy farmers throughout the Union.

“Over the next few weeks, my Services will consider a thorough analysis of all of the options available to us, whether in terms of existing or new instruments and access to those instruments.

“The objective has to be, as I have said on many previous occasions, to be to re-establish balance in the market.

“Collectively, we have to take responsibility for the continuing increase in production, which is simply not sustainable in the current market conditions,” he said.