The European Commission is resisting pressure to unpick its recently approved dairy liberalisation reforms in the face of collapsing prices on the world dairy market.

Record prices in 2006 and early 2007 prompted increased production, which has combined with falling recession-time demand to wreck dairy industry business plans.

Brussels has increased temporary dairy intervention as a result, but yesterday (23 March) the Commission came under pressure from the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture to delay, or even reverse, its ‘health check’ reforms that will expand dairy production quotas.

However, EU agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has dismissed such calls. 

“I am not ready to discuss a complete re-orientation of the EU dairy policy as suggested by some of you. I’m not going to step back from the agreement… We have to be brave enough to say it clearly. Blurred messages are just causing uncertainty among farmers,” she said.

Fischer Boel said reducing quota to increase prices would go completely counter to all the CAP reforms introduced since 1992.

“We will not deviate from that road due to a temporary dip in the dairy market.” Fischer Boel said. “I refuse to accept that the dairy sector is fundamentally so different from any other agricultural sector that it should be granted a unique treatment.”