The European Milk Board (EMB) will now be headed by its new Chair, Danish milk producer Kjartan Poulsen. At the EMB’s last General Assembly, German BDM representative Elmar Hannen was also elected Deputy Chair. The previous Board members Boris Gondouin from APLI France, Belgian MIG representative Guy Francq, his Irish colleague Pat McCormack from the ICMSA and Roberto Cavaliere from the APL Italy were re-elected to the Board.
European milk producers expressed their gratitude to the outgoing Chairperson, Sieta van Keimpema, who showed her unwavering commitment to European milk producers in her various functions at the EMB since its foundation in 2006. Through her tireless political work, she made extraordinary contributions to bolstering milk producers' representation at EU level. At this EMB General Assembly, her European colleagues, including many long-time colleagues such as the new EMB Chair commended her outstanding services: "Sieta van Keimpema is an exceptional person for the EMB and we owe her a debt of gratitude. We wish her all the best for her future projects, into which she will undoubtedly invest just as much energy.”
Kjartan Poulsen had the opportunity to gain extensive political work experience in defending dairy producers in his former role as Deputy Chair. Working closely with his colleagues on the Board and the EMB member organisations, he will now focus more specifically on producers’ participation in the drawing up and implementation of the Green Deal, as well as on ensuring the costs linked to the various green strategies are covered. So far, policy-makers have been dictating what is to be done, without regard for the opinion and experience of EU food producers. “This is a big mistake coming at a high cost for everyone. Without producers’ active involvement, there can be no successful climate policy,” Poulsen stated. As a focus for future work, the EMB General Assembly also determined that there should be an EU-wide regulation banning products from being sold below their production costs.
The Fair Milk Project epitomises the notion of fairness – another key EMB focus. Here, high-quality dairy products are matched with a fair price for the producers. In several European countries such as France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, consumers can help to ensure that the costs of production, including a fair income, are secured for their farmers by buying fair products such as milk, chocolate milk, cheese, and butter. This project, which also allows producers to establish a direct relationship with consumers, must be broadened to ensure that more producers in other countries can enjoy prices that cover their full costs.