Sunday

19th Feb 2017

Second day of milk protests in EU capital

  • Tractors blocked Rue Belliard on Tuesday morning (Photo: EMB)

EU officials trying to get to work on Tuesday (27 November) faced a second day of problems as hundreds of tractors blocked main roads to the institutions.

The protest - organised by the European Milk Board (EMB), a German-based trade association - shut down three out of four lanes on the Rue de la Loi leading to the European Commission and EU Council buildings and closed Rue Belliard beside the European Parliament.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The EMB said 2,500 farmers from 14 EU countries have brought between 800 and 1,000 tractors to Brussels in protest at falling milk prices and EU plans to phase out subsidies by 2015.

It noted that in Belgium it costs €0.40 to make a litre of milk compared to a wholesale price of €0.26.

Some of the largest contingents came from Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

"Tuesday's big protest, in front of the EU institutions, will by symbolic and more calm than spraying milk on their facades. They must understand that in recent years, 150,00 producers have closed their doors, 3,000 of them in Belgium," Erwin Schopges, the head of EMB's Belgian branch told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

"It's very simple: you can't live off milk any more. If I go on, it's thanks to European aid ... If they do it [phase out subsidies] there will be no more small and medium producers here in five years," French farmer Leopold Gruget told AFP.

On Monday, the protesters unloaded 15,000 litres of milk on parliament buildings beside the Place du Luxembourg.

They also camped out in the square overnight, setting fire to a pile of tyres and hay and drinking beer as police looked on.

The farmers are to begin leaving the EU capital at 1pm local time on Tuesday.

The EU currently spends around 40 percent of its €130-billion-a-year budget on agricultural subsidies.

But northern countries want to cut farm spending in the 2014 to 2020 budget period in favour of more spending on research and industry.

Milk farmers to get controversial EU aid of €280 million

The EU commission on Monday proposed a special milk fund worth €280 million to ease the troubles of the dairy sector and put an end to the continuous protests of farmers in the past months, including in Luxembourg where agriculture ministers were meeting.

Milk farmers vent fury at militant demo in Brussels

Several thousand dairy farmers from across the continent on Monday drove their tractors to the heart of the European quarter in Brussels, where EU agriculture ministers were meeting informally to discuss a response to the crisis in the milk sector..

EU ready to challenge US border tax

The EU is willing to fight any attempt by the Trump administration to impose border tax on imports, says trade commissioner Jyrki Katainen.

Opinion

Unfair EU-Canada trade deal is wrong response to Trump

The EU-Canada trade deal, which is to be voted on in the European Parliament next week, cements the inequalities, political exclusion and favours to corporations that feed far-right groups in Europe.

Visual Data

EU farming policy: The damage done by 20 years of inertia

The EU Commission will ask the public later this week how the common agricultural policy should be overhauled. Data from the past two decades reveals a catalogue of missed chances and failed reforms.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta
  2. Spain's princess fined for tax fraud, husband sentenced
  3. EU to invest millions in energy infrastructure
  4. Dutch data watchdog forces online vote aides to up security
  5. EU allows Lithuania to ban Russian tv channel
  6. Finland announces increase in defence spending
  7. Ex-PM Blair says Brits should 'rise up' against Brexit
  8. Nato chief says facts to prevail over fake news

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty