European Farmers Spill Milk in Protest
There is a saying about spilled milk.
But that hasn’t stopped European dairy farmers from crying foul over low prices.
They’re pouring three million liters of milk into this field in Belgium to get the attention of their governments and a helping hand out of bankruptcy. At this point, they say, they have nothing to lose.
[Romuald Schaber, European Milk Board President]:
“It is really sad that we have to throw away the milk — that we have to openly throw it in the field. But the problem is that until now our protests, our demands have not been heard by the politicians and we were left with no other means but to take drastic action.“
The spokesman for the E.U. Commissioner for Agriculture says they already help farmers more than any other sector and it cannot reverse its policies.
[Michael Mann, Spokesman for Agriculture Commissioner]:
„We have been spending an awful lot of money to help stabilize the market. This year alone we are going to spend something like €600 million on market support measures. That means buying surplus production into storage, helping to subsidize exports of dairy products. Farmers also get direct payments from Brussels, they are the only group that do get direct payment from Brussels.“
But dairy farmers say they need more — and they need it now.
From driving tractors in towns to street protests, they have been demonstrating for almost a year.
Now, they say a slide in prices combined with new E.U. plans to increase annual production quotas will exacerbate the market fall.
The European Agriculture Commissioner has said long and short term solutions will be presented to parliament on Thursday.
The farmers will then face a decision on whether to take further action or simply go with the flow.