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Friday, 18 September 2009

Milk prices: more needs to be done, say MEPs

Existing aid to dairy farmers will continue until at least next February, MEPs agreed today. But they also warned that measures taken by the European Commission so far were not enough. MEPs approved, by 447 votes in favour, 70 against and 16 abstentions, draft legislation to extend aid for buying up butter and skimmed milk powder, which was due to end in August, to at least February next year. The aid should also apply to cheese, say MEPs. But in an additional resolution on the problems facing dairy farmers, MEPs also called for more action to address medium and long term problems in the dairy sector. Parliament has urged the European Commission repeatedly to do more to tackle the crisis. The Commission should immediately introduce measures to stimulate demand for dairy products, along the lines of the funding for the school milk programme say MEPs. They also want an EU Dairy Fund of EUR 600 million to be set up to aid producer organisations and cooperatives and to support farm modernisation. "Measures adopted so far are not sufficient to help farmers" said Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), the MEP responsible for the legislative report and chair of the Agriculture Committee. "With the resolution we approve today, we call for more initiatives and we hope that (...) our proposals are taken into due consideration", he added.

Source: European Parliament