Dairy UK sets out recommendations for EU policy

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dairy uk European union

Dairy UK has warned that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should not be allowed to become an EU Common Food Policy.

In a policy briefing covering reform to CAP and the recommendations of the High Level Experts Group on Milk (HLG), Dairy UK set out its vision on the desired direction of EU-level changes.

In the context of volatile milk prices and the phasing out of quotas, there is much discussion about the future of European dairy policy. EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos is due to bring forward proposals at the end of the year, acting on the recommendations of the HLG.

Dairy UK, the UK dairy trade body, is therefore keen to present its views on future EU dairy policy. It has already expressed concern about certain HLG recommendations, warning against prescriptive formal contracts between producers and processors and any changes that would discriminate against private dairies in favour of co-ops.

Key policies

In its latest policy document, Dairy UK set out its key policies. While the industry association said dairy needs assistance to adapt to increased price volatility, it called for commitment to more liberal policies.

In particular, the policy document says the EU must recognise that agriculture cannot be exempted from the process of trade liberalisation and must seek to promote efficiency in agricultural production. This second point is not simply financial, as Dairy UK added that greater efficiency will also lead to further reductions in carbon emissions.

It said EU policy should allow for differences between member states, warning that CAP should not become an EU Common Food Policy.

Jim Begg called for comment on the briefing, urging industry stakeholders to share their thoughts so to enable a “full and open debate”.​ Begg said “CAP reform and the recommendations of the High Level Experts Group are so important in determining the future structure and direction of the dairy sector.

“Commissioner Dacian Ciolos will be bringing forwards proposals later in the year. The industry need to be prepared. Analysis of the issues and clear thinking on policy are needed for the best deal to be achieved on behalf of the UK. That is what this document delivers.”

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