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Patrick Le Hyaric, Vice-President European United Left/Nordic Green Left: on the crisis in the dairy sector


23 Oct 2009


Health & Consumers

I am obliged to tell you, Commissioner, that the proposed financial provisions are only a small drop of water in an ocean of crisis and despair.

Firstly, why do you only announce €280 million in aid today, when there was some discussion about €600 million? You say that you are restricted by the budget, that you are held back by financial restraints. But how can you explain the fact that many billions were found when it was wanted, to rescue the banks which today abound in profit and that small and medium-sized farmers are left in bankruptcy and ruin.

Consider the folly of this plan. You will give €600 to €1000 to farmers who are losing €100 to €200 per day! We require a true emergency financial scheme, not a plaster to treat cancer.

Also, you want to use public money, for a vast plan to slaughter dairy cows and shut down farms. Thus you will destroy the future of our farmers because it is young people who will be hit hardest, the smallest farmers, the most vulnerable, those who work the land, who produce milk products and cheeses of quality, who preserve the environment.

How dare you propose this, when so many families in Europe and elsewhere do not have access to food or even milk.

Tomorrow, with your plan, we will be short of milk.

Finally at the very moment when the Commission, the Council, and others explain to us that the Lisbon Treaty will allow codecision between the Parliament and the Commission, you ask us in Article 186 to give you complete power.

But it is the fundamental choices of your Commission which are responsible for the current terrible crisis with the liberalisation of quotas and the refusal to adopt a basic intra-Community price to the sole benefit of industrialists and distributers.

Even the European Court of Auditors shows that from 2000 to 2007 consumer prices for dairy products increased by 17% while production prices decreased by 6%.

Commissioner, it is urgent, very urgent, to help the agricultural sector with a large European emergency fund and to return to a minimum pricing policy, and to refuse to allow the capitalist market to destroy our agriculture, while famine broadens its terrible devastation throughout the world.

Gianfranco Battistini +32475646628

Sonja Giese +32486945021

David Lundy +32485505812