This July, we witnessed an extraordinary, decisive moment in European agricultural policy. The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union reached a compromise on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This is still to be officially adopted by the Member States who will then be called on to define their national measures.
As you can imagine, this compromise is not going to solve all the issues in the dairy sector. Nonetheless, the Common Market Organisation (CMO) dossier of the CAP does include some good outcomes – the result of the tireless and committed efforts of the EMB and its members.
Among these useful, important instruments, voluntary volume reduction during crises and the strengthening of market observatories provide some hope. The former, stipulated in Article 219 CMO, allows producers to reduce overproduction (which has been explicitly mentioned for the first time in legislation) during crises in order to facilitate price recovery. Participating farmers shall be compensated for the volume not delivered and shall thus be able to collectively take charge of the sector and its development. This is the only instrument that proved to be effective during recent crises. The latter is a key step forward, strengthening the dairy market observatory and creating new observatories for other sectors. The corresponding Article 222 CMO will help prevent crises. Furthermore, it will create the necessary framework for greater stability and more transparency for the agricultural sector as a whole.
Because of climate change and the increasing pressure of societal demands, the CAP reform also tries to place a greater focus on environmental aspects. Sadly, in spite of the advances in the CMO, I cannot draw the same conclusion when it comes to the economic sustainability of our farms. We need a milk price that shows us producers more respect. Today, many of us are already pushed to the limit; the recently published production cost study demonstrates this in unequivocal figures. Economically and socially respecting farmers and respecting nature and the environment are two sides of the same coin. One cannot be achieved without the other.
That being said, the advances within the CMO are important steps that seemed unattainable just a few years ago. We have been able to make headway on these key issues mainly thanks to the tremendous work of our members, thanks to protests and actions, and thanks to advocacy and meetings with ministers and MEPs. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your contribution to this success. Grazie a tutte e tutti!
We are yet to see what actual results emerge from these compromises for our farms. They are still just words on paper. Which means that we have to keep at it! Let’s remain optimistic and hopeful, let’s continue our fight, let's keep the pressure up to achieve concrete results and decent prices!
Wishing you all a wonderful, stress-free summer and an abundant harvest!
Roberto Cavaliere, EMB Executive Committee member and President of APL Italy