The failure of the CNIEL negotiations, which united milk producers and industrialists around the same table on Tuesday, May 5th, to jointly define indicative milk prices, sounds the death knell for producers’ hopes. According to the newspaper The Echos, the two sides parted in less than an hour, without addressing the delicate issue of the remuneration of producers, while the sector continues to be bogged down in the world crisis. For the month of April, the producers, who denounce milk prices that are below production costs, will be paid according to the decisions of each firm (Lactalis, Bongrain, etc.), and not based on the national recommendation, which has long been the case. And if they are to be able to compete with neighboring countries, as the industry demands, they will even have to expect at least a 15% fall in price.
The European Commissioner has not responded to the concerns of many Member States concerning the crucial situation of the dairy market. During the last European Union Agricultural Council on April 24th, Ireland, with the support of around ten countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Slovenia, highlighted that such a situation threatened future milk production capacity. The Commission, which launched a few support measures three months ago, considers that it has done everything possible in terms of a security net, particularly the huge quantities of “through the roof” intervention purchases.
A reflection has to be initiated at the European level, on whether or not to maintain European milk production capacities. Which is far from being a political absurdity, given the stakes involved, and which are linked to food security.