The EU must now strengthen and speed up its actions to stabilise its agricultural markets, says chair of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee
The European Commission and the Council must adopt urgent and targeted measures to help EU dairy and livestock farmers and fruit and vegetable growers with falling prices and drops in global demand for their products and develop, in close cooperation with MEPs, a more responsive safety net to tackle future crises, says the chair of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee Czesław Adam Siekierski (EPP, PL).
"Since the beginning of the current parliamentary term the Agriculture Committee has been calling for more decisive interventions on numerous agricultural markets, particularly on the dairy one. The end of milk quotas on 1 April 2015 has led to a significant drop in prices for milk bought from farmers. Changes on the milk market are analysed by the Milk Market Observatory, but we have been waiting for too long now for possible interventions in the framework of the so called safety net. The Commission and Council must act decisively to stabilise our agricultural markets. Our farmers cannot wait anymore", chairman Siekierski says.
"The market situation is difficult in many sectors, which is partly due to the extended Russian embargo and drops in demand on some of the world markets like the Chinese one, and partly due to other external factors, such as lower production costs and different social and environmental standards in third countries. Nevertheless, we should avoid falsely blaming the single market and openness of our internal trade in agricultural products for the current difficult situation and focus instead on dealing with the real roots of the problems EU farmers are now facing", adds the chair.
"Right now we need urgent actions on the EU level that would target those regions and states where the situation is most dire - and we should start by updating our intervention prices so as to better reflect real production costs and real market prices. Member States could also come to the aid of their farmers with national instruments but these have to be designed in a way that would ensure that competition on the EU single market is not affected," Mr Siekierski says.
"In the long-term, we also have to think about a more responsive safety net and new market instruments that would help to tackle price volatility and market instability. We need to update current market stabilisation and intervention tools within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which are fairly limited right now. And we should start by dusting off Parliament's proposals on the crisis-related market measures from the last CAP reform, which were, regrettably, rejected in the negotiations with Member States", the Agriculture committee chair concludes.