Voluntary EU milk supply management signed into law

New EU rules providing the opportunity for farmers to take up incentives to reduce milk supplies have now been finalised and published into official EU regulations.

As announced by Commissioner Hogan in March in response to the difficult milk market situation, the Commission is open to allowing agreements between recognised Producer Organisations, their associations and recognised Interbranch Organisations to plan milk production for a temporary period of six months.

This option is provided in the context of Article 222 of the CAP Market Regulation which was introduced for the first time in the 2013 CAP Reform. A separate Delegated Regulation, also published today, extends the measure to co-operatives and other forms of Producer Organisations.

Recently, French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll one of the key proponents of the measure gathered the key players in the French dairy sector together to consider how to implement milk supply control in France.

It is understood that stakeholders in the French dairy industry indicated to Minister Le Foll that for the measure to be effective, would have to be compulsory at a European level. Such a move has been strongly opposed by Irish Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

Addressing the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg today, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said the responsibility for the speedy implementation of these rules is now with the co-legislators.

“I call on you to seize that responsibility with a view to ensuring that this measure is used as an effective contribution towards greater market balance in the dairy sector.”

The milk market situation was also discussed by EU Agriculture Ministers at yesterday’s Council in Luxembourg.

As discussed with Member State ministry delegates in the CMO Committee in March (and voted through), this new Implementing Regulation will allow the planning of production during spring and summer to coincide with the high production season in the milk sector and therefore have a more significant impact.

This authorisation covers all Member States given that the severe market imbalance is common to the whole European Union.

Notifications should allow the Member State competent authorities to assess the measures and ensure their compatibility with the proper functioning of the internal market and their effectiveness in stabilising the milk market.

This series of measures announced last month flows on from the solidarity package for farmers facing persistent market difficulties (link is external) that was announced last autumn.