Milk Quotas Debated in Brussels ({{commentsTotal}})

A milk packaging line at Laeva Dairy in Tartu County
A milk packaging line at Laeva Dairy in Tartu County Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Agriculture ministers from around the European Union held a policy debate on the dairy sector on Monday in Brussels as part of a work program focusing on agricultural and fisheries matters.

The chief concern of many of the delegations was the volatility in the EU market, which has seen at least 10 countries, including Estonia, recently exceed quotas in milk production.

Some of the ministers discussed in the meeting that the "safety net" provisions already in place should be complemented by more targeted measures to address the market’s volatility and help in particular vulnerable milk production areas. Many other ministers, in particular those exceeding their milk quotas, insisted on the need to have measures to ensure an actual "soft landing" in all EU member states.

"The additional financial pressure on producers in the last quota year is a problem for many countries and needs to be solved," said Estonian Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder, The Baltic Course reported. "The number of countries that already exceed the quota or potentially reach that state is growing fast."

The policy debate on the dairy section was a follow-up to a discussion held in the Council of Europe in December. Estonia proposed that the fat content coefficient should be revised. A 250 percent increase would allow the country to avoid exceeding its quota.

The group announced an observation monitoring function for the sector, and will prepare a report by June 30 to evaluate whether additional measures for the sector are necessary.