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Agriculture ministers to hold talks on dairy crisis


Latest update : 2009-09-23

EU agriculture ministers will hold a one-off meeting to discuss the crisis in Europe's dairy sector in Brussels on October 5. Milk prices have dropped due to low demand caused by the economic crisis, prompting recent angry protests by dairy farmers.

AFP - European Union agriculture ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on October 5 in Brussels to discuss the crisis over collapsed milk prices, the Swedish EU presidency said on Wednesday.
"I have now decided to invite my 26 colleagues in Europe to a meeting on the 5th of October in Brussels where the Agriculture Commissioner (Mariann) Fischer Boel will be present," Swedish Agriculture Minister Eskil Erlandsson told AFP.
"She will then present a road map to the European dairy sector," he said.
Erlandsson said the meeting had been called because of "the crisis in Europe on the market."
Dairy prices have collapsed due to low demand caused by the economic crisis.
Since 2007, milk prices have in some countries more than halved, according to European Milk Board chief Romuald Schaber, whose organisation represents about a third of European milk producers.
Demonstrations have been held in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, as the collapse in prices threaten bankruptcy for tens of thousands of producers.
European Union agriculture ministers could not agree on an aid package for the sector during a Brussels meeting on September 7.
In November, EU agriculture ministers agreed to lift milk production quotas by one percent per year before scrapping them for 2014-2015.
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has agreed to introduce limited aid but has refused to go back on its decision to scrap the quota system.
But 19 countries, including France, Germany and Poland, have rejected the aid proposal as insufficient.
Asked about the details of the "road map" to be presented by Brussels, Erlandsson said only that the Commission had "promised us an analysis of the (dairy) market" in Europe and the world.

Date created : 2009-09-23