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New Dairy Package: Next Steps??

While the new €500m package is welcome, detail has been scant as to how it will actually work and be distributed. This article will attempt to outline the process leading to the announcement of the distribution of the monies for each national envelope.

Firstly, there was an Agri ministers meeting held after the Commission announcement on 7th September.

This will be followed by a meeting of Departmental Officials from the 28 member states, in the form of a Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA), this Friday, 11th September and again on Monday, 14th September.

This meeting will be then followed by another  ‘informal’ Ministerial meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg held on that Monday and into the 15th where a more detailed announcement is expected. This announcement should detail both the amounts each country should get and the general EU conditions for the spending of the envelopes.

At present they are currently arguing over how the monies will be split up under ‘distribution keys’.

These criteria could be:

–    The amount paid in my the member state in superlevy monies

–    The average difference between the milk price before 6 August 2014 and  now

–    Milk quotas held in 2014/2015

–   Actual exports lost since the imposition of the Russian Ban
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is not a Qualified Majority Vote (QMV) to support a change to intervention rates. And unless Germany or the UK radically adjusts their position on this, intervention change will not come seriously back on the agenda.

ICOS will be as ever lobbying for an outcome favourable to our Irish dairy co-operatives and their members.

By Conor Mulvihill, European Affairs Executive