A report on the future of the dairy industry has now received final approval from MEPs.
Drafted by Jim Nicholson MEP, the report passed the house by 510 votes to 154. It urges the European Commission to do more to help the struggling European dairy sector with the number one priority being a review of the intervention prices.
The paper also urges the commission to look for new markets and to strengthen the Milk Market Observatory. MEPs also voted in favour of the commission engaging in formal talks with all stakeholders to look at regulatory tools to prevent and effectively manage new crisis in the sector.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan flatly ruled out an increase in the intervention price, arguing that it was not the right thing for the sector and could be counterproductive. Mr Hogan was adamant that existing tools available to the sector were sufficient.
CAP concerns raised with Commissioner
Six presidents of European farming organisations have raised their key concerns on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in a letter to Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Farming union presidents have called on the commissioner to “put fairness at the heart of the new CAP” by making changes on greening requirements, sanctions and direct payments.
TTIP an “opportunity” for European farmers - Copa
Copa Vice-President and former Ulster Farmers’ Union president Harry Sinclair has highlighted the concerns of European farmers at a stakeholder forum on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Speaking at the event, Mr Sinclair stated that a trade deal with the US could benefit both sides of the Atlantic as long as certain conditions were met. In particular, he highlighted sanitary and phytosanitary issues, arguing that excessive controls and inspections must be avoided. Mr Sinclair also urged the US authorities to allow the export of European beef in to the US market as soon as possible.
Mr Sinclair told the meeting: “Farmers and farmer cooperatives all across Europe support the process of the negotiations with the USA.
A trade agreement between EU and the US could well provide expanding opportunities for agricultural trade.
Copa working party
Members of the Copa working party on cereals and oilseeds met to discuss the outlook for the sector, future planting decisions and impacts on potential yields in the wake of restrictions on neonicotinoid seed dressings.
With CAP greening requirements set to be factored in on farm as part of the coming season’s crop rotation, a number of member states reported having to implement significant changes to cropping patterns in order to comply with the new regulations.
In particular, concerns from many member states were raised about the impact of Ecological Focus Areas on local markets and coupling of support for some protein crops.
While protein output is expected to increase the European cereal harvest is expected to shrink by 7.5% this year compared to 2014, following the recent dry spell, the lack of insecticides to protect crops against pests and a subsequent drop in yields, according to Copa’s latest cereal estimates.
Cereal production in the European Union is expected to reach just over 296.5 million tonnes, following the bumper harvest last year of 320.5mt.