The European Dairy Association (EDA) has sounded a cautious note to the announcement today (15 February) in Brussels of reforms to European Union (EU) directives covering the dairy industry.

EU agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said: “There are many things we can do to make the rules in the dairy sector work more effectively.”

The proposed changes to the EU dairy common market regime include scrapping EU subsidies for storing cream and skimmed milk powder, simplifying butter subsidies and abolishing subsidised dairy supplies to military forces.

EDA President Veijo Merilainen however described the proposals as “short term”. He said focus needed to be kept on the prospect of the EU’s dairy quota system being abolished by 2015, and that there needed to be “a transparent approach” to three key aspects when assessing the health of the current system: market support instruments, the milk quota system and decoupled direct payments.

“The EU dairy industry should be kept in balance and competitive on a global level,” he said.

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