Friday

13th Dec 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

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..

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

EU agrees 2020 budget deal

EU governments and the parliament agreed in marathon talks ino next year's budget - which will boost spending on climate, border protection, and the European satellite system. It will also be a benchmark if there is no long-term budget deal.

News in Brief

  1. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  2. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  3. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  4. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  5. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality
  6. Czech PM: nuclear energy needed for climate neutrality
  7. Hungary: Climate target is burden, EU should help
  8. Malta PM urged to step down ahead of EU summit

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Behind bars: a visit to an imprisoned Catalan politician
  2. Leaders agree 2050 climate neutrality - without Poland
  3. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  4. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  5. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks
  6. Europe needs to make mind up on relations with Africa
  7. Leaders face crucial EU summit for climate action
  8. Leaders to battle on climate target and money at summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us