EU dairy farmers’ assistance package: Insufficient unless the intervention is reviewed

Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament last night on the crisis in European agriculture, European Conservatives and Reformists Group Agriculture spokesman James Nicholson warned that the €500 million package announced last week to assist dairy farmers may be insufficient once it filters down to individual farms.

Mr Nicholson, who drafted a parliamentary report on the dairy crisis before the summer, said that the aid package and other proposals may help in the long term, but only a review of the intervention price would assist dairy farmers in the short run.

Addressing the European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, he said:

“There is no doubt that €500million Euro is a lot of money. But the problem arises when we get down to individual Member States, and regions within them. By the time the money gets down to particular farms, there may not be much left to actually alleviate the pain farmers are facing. In my own constituency of Northern Ireland, this is exacerbated by the weakness of the Euro against the Pound and the lack of action on the intervention price.

“I fear that by refusing to review the price of intervention, the measures rolled out by the Commission could prove insufficient. How many of our farmers will be out of business and how long will these long term measures take to take effect?”

Mr Nicholson also welcomed news that around €30million of the fund will be used to make milk available for displaced refugees in countries neighbouring Europe’s borders.

He ended telling the commissioner: “Times are hard on the farm and we all have to work hard together to find a solution.”

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