In the context of the convergence of most global dairy prices, ICOS has said it has long viewed the imposition of superlevy fines as an ‘own goal’ for European dairy.

It says this is especially true at a time when Ireland’s global competitors are securing market share in key third country markets around the globe where dairy demand is rising.

While always advising Irish co-operative dairy farmers to work within the existing quota rules, ICOS has long campaigned actively in Brussels to pursue a butterfat adjustment to mitigate these fines for producers.

ICOS highlight that the current geopolitically caused Russian ban, and the general softening of dairy prices show that taking money out of the pockets of the industry is folly at a difficult time, when there still remains 4.6% of the overall EU quota unused. This situation is further exasperated by the lack of a quota increase or softlanding for this final year because of a political decision made in 2008.

As expected figures confirmed by the European commission on Friday show Ireland exceeded quota by over €10 million. Seven other countries the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Cyprus and Luxemburg also exceeded their limits amounting in an overall bill of €409 million for dairy farmers.

ICOS says the bill 9 times more than the €45m paid in the last year. States affected most were Germany & the Netherland, and they face hefty fines of €163 million & €132 million respectively. ICOS added that it has to be noted that overall EU milk deliveries to were 4.6% under the quota volume.

ICOS is continuing its work requesting:

  • The commission to ring fence these dairy fines for the support of dairy farmers and their cooperatives
  • The full opening of the single CMO ‘toolbox’ to support the market
  • The application of a logical butterfat adjustment to 2014/15 figures to allow for the promised ‘soft landing’ ahead of quota abolition
  • Further measures by the EU to open Trade routes to 3rd country markets, including the suspension of dairy export barriers to the US and Canada for the duration of the Russian ban
  • The streamlining of the dairy export certification procedure for co-operatives
  • A diplomatic offensive to ease the Russian trade ban