Ministerial Meeting in Brussels to Tackle Milk Crisis in Europe

October 5, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Dairy farmers coming from several European countries, mainly Germany, France and Belgium, protest on October 5, 2009 against falling milk prices in front of EU headquarters in Brussels. (Herwig Vergult/AFP/Getty Images )
Dairy farmers coming from several European countries, mainly Germany, France and Belgium, protest on October 5, 2009 against falling milk prices in front of EU headquarters in Brussels. (Herwig Vergult/AFP/Getty Images )
Agriculture and farming ministers gathered on Monday in Brussels for a special meeting to discuss the current milk crisis in Europe.

Dairy producers hope that the ministers will review the position paper submitted by the European Milk Board (EMB), which calls for flexible control of milk volumes and will take measures for changing EU's milk policy.

The meeting is expected to discuss the proposals from Germany and France for placing restrictions on the liberalization of the milk market – possible measures include cutting quotas and raising export subsidies for milk, butter, powdered milk and cheeses. The proposal is endorsed by 19 out of 27 EU-members.

Recently, milk producers across the old continent have been faced with huge decrease in the demand for fresh milk as supply quantities surge. This has led to a fall of milk prices and losses for farmers. They have staged a 4-weeks wave of protests by dumping milk in the streets and obstructed regular deliveries to supermarkets.

"The strike is suspended until October 5," warned European Milk Board head Romuald Schaber, quoted by AFP.

"But it will be back on in a flash if no reasonable decisions are taken," he added.

However, this time, ministers are only going to have discussions, while an official decision is expected to come in two weeks.

Milk product prices have fallen in Europe since 2007, mostly due to the step-by-step removal of quotas which is planned to last until 2014-2015. At the same time, dairy product producers have been getting progressively lower levels of aid from Brussels.