Le Monde | • Updated | By
This time, the Minister Stéphane Le Foll did not return from Brussels empty-handed. Monday, March 14, he obtained during the Agriculture Ministers of the Council, supported by the European Commission on essential exceptional measures which he claimed for weeks, in an attempt to stem the crisis and deep milk pork, two sectors affected by the surplus and price reductions.
Paris accused the Commissioner, Phil Hogan, become bane of french farmers, not wanting to date listen to their concerns and recognize the depth of the crisis. He obviously heard them. “The Board today brand awareness across all Europe of the gravity of the situation and the need to act quickly to stem the crisis. [... ] the voice of France shared by many European countries has been heard, and through it, the need to restore a necessary balance between supply and demand, “ welcomed Mr. Le Foll Monday night
Read also. “Big Phil”, the bane of french farmers
Brussels has accepted an increase in the aid ceiling ministerial for farms, which can go up to 20,000 euros per year. Regarding pork, agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan confirmed that he accepted the launch of a new private storage aid (farmers collect the carcasses until prices recover, and are compensated for this).
as for milk, Brussels also agreed to double measures of “intervention” for butter and milk powder, respectively 100 000 tonnes and 218 000 tonnes (States buy from cooperatives and store themselves in an attempt to raise prices).
Regulation of the dairy market
But the most significant measure, and most new concerns European green light for activation of an article “222″ Regulation on the common market organization. It introduces a form of regulation of the milk market, never used, but long-sought by Paris. The 222 introduces a derogation to European competition law and allows cooperatives and business associations in the different states to reach an agreement voluntarily to limit their production. Right back cartels, somehow. But very momentary. Not more than six months, renewable once
“This is by no means a return to quotas,” warned the commission , Monday. And Mr. Hogan, and the very liberal Dutch minister of agriculture, Martijn van Dam has also dot the i in a press conference: “No way to challenge the market orientation European agriculture. “ Quotas, a market regulation instrument introduced in the 1980s, were abolished on 1 st in April 2015, at the end of a long political process began in the early 2000s No way to Brussels to go back, at least for now.
what is the effectiveness of these measures, while overproduction of milk may start rising with spring? So far, private storage (in terms of pork) and intervention measures (in the case of milk) have not had the desired effect. This is also why Hogan arrived at the conclusion that it was necessary to activate Article 222.
Set professionals around the table
As for the latter, to be operational and gives tangible results, it must be activated at the same time by as much as possible of potential cooperatives. Otherwise, some may play the game of the fall in production, while others, in “free riders” use the opportunity to grab their market share.
“A large majority member countries supported our request for activation of Article 222, only the United Kingdom, Denmark and Hungary are not associated with it. Even the Minister of Ireland [country has invested heavily in increasing milk production] indicated that he accepted this measure said Mr Le Foll Monday. But the minister also recognized that there should he roll up our sleeves to make the most possible professional around the table. I will make early contact with the European Parliament to be quickly organized a meeting with dairy stakeholders. “
Paris still hoped there a few weeks to convince professionals through incentive financial aid from Brussels. But the commission was very clear Monday: agree to a new regulatory tool, but without fresh money. Most of the “package” on the table will be in effect at constant budget
Read also:. Agriculture: Brussels accepts a temporary return to a form of regulation of the milk market
38% of the EU budget
the measures of intervention and private storage will be financed by the surplus of the common agricultural policy recognized at the end of 2016. Phil Hogan had struggled to find emergency aid of 500 million euros that the commission had released in September. In Brussels, overwhelmed by the crisis of migrants, the priority is not at all in agriculture, which still accounts for 38% of total EU (60 billion euros, of which ten in France) budget.
“ Brussels saves time, it is betting that this aid will help to keep their heads above water for farmers, the time that the Russian sanitary embargo [set in 2014, that weighs on pork] be lifted and that surpluses are absorbed in the milk, “ judged Luc Vernet, a researcher in a specialized think Brussels tank, Farm Europe.
the reactions of french farmers remained very cautious Monday night. Thierry Roquefeuil, chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation, “we must not forget that, until now, Europe’s farmers have not wanted to regulate their production. Now that would be a way to dig? I am very skeptical of the application of these clauses volunteers in countries specifically wanted the end of milk quotas to produce more “.