The European Commission and allied EU member states are pressing ahead with drafting reforms to the EU dairy market, which would strengthen producers negotiating with wholesalers and retailers. 

The Belgian government, which is holding the EU presidency, and the Commission have promised to proceed with reform, after 22 out of 27 member states backed changing EU dairy market rules at a Council of Ministers meeting. 

Reforms would involve forcing buyers to release more information about dairy prices and giving a special role to producer organisations in the market.

The UK, the Netherlands and Denmark oppose these ideas as anti-competitive, but they lack the votes to veto such proposals, which the Commission could table by November. Belgium’s agriculture minister Sabine Laruelle told journalists later: “We will continue the work and we hope we will get a bigger majority.”

The proposals follow a report from a ‘high-level group’ of experts in June that favoured helping dairy producers through compulsory delivery contacts covering prices and volumes.