Liam Aylward MEP calls on the European Commission to introduce flexibility on quotas as the ‘one size fits all’ EU Dairy policy is not working for Irish dairy farmers.


The crisis in the Dairy sector in 2009 highlighted the severe vulnerability of this sector and clearly demonstrated that it is essential that a degree of stability and certainty is established for dairy farmers particularly when quotas are abolished in 2015.

Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has today criticised the European Commission for sticking resolutely to the ‘one size fits all’ EU Dairy policy, as agreed under the Health Check, despite the Commission admitting that that a soft landing cannot be guaranteed for all Member States and the EU being under quota overall.

Speaking during the European Parliament debate on new legislation to strengthen dairy farmers’ bargaining power, the Ireland East MEP stated:

“The Commission has conceded that in Member States where milk deliveries exceed quota a soft landing may not be guaranteed and as we progress towards the abolition of quota, a very worrying situation is developing for Irish dairy farmers and the threat of a Super Levy is present year on year.”

“Overall milk production in the EU is 6% under quota and it is an unsustainable situation that Irish dairy farmers can produce to meet the EU quota overall with a high quality in-demand product, but due to inflexibility they will be penalised and their potential for growth  constrained by a policy that is not working for dairy farmers.”

“It is clear that there is no widespread political will to revisit the Health Check decisions, yet I would urge the Commission to use common sense and consider measures to ensure a soft landing for all Member States and to consider introducing a degree of flexibility into the system for dairy farmers.”

Speaking on the provisions contained in the Report on Contractual Relations in Milk and Milk Products sector, Liam Aylward MEP stated that

“As Ireland has a very strong and established cooperative system in place the Milk Package will have very little direct impact on Irish dairy farmer. The main issue of concern remains the threat of super levy and the Commission must stop hiding behind the decisions made several years ago and react the unsustainable situation at hand.”

The Nicholson Report on Contractual Relations in Milk and Milk Products sector will be voted in the European Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday) and recommends that its provisions are temporary in nature, to apply until 2020 and will be reviewed in Commission Reports on the development of the milk market to be submitted in 2014 and 2018.