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Dairy farmers shut down EU quarter

By Dave Keating  -  27.11.2012 / 10:16 CET
Farmers from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands protest against milk quotas.
Dairy farmers protesting against EU milk quotas shut down several streets in Brussels' EU Quarter yesterday (27 November) and are continuing protests today.

The dairy farmers brought 500 tractors from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands into the EU area yesterday, parking them on the main traffic arteries of Rue de la Loi and Rue Belliard and leaving them there overnight. Yesterday the dairy farmers sprayed thousands of litres of fresh milk at riot police in front of the European Parliament at Place du Luxembourg.

They also sprayed the Parliament building itself, managing to disrupt a meeting of shadow rapporteurs from the agriculture committee who were discussing proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). They then set fire to barrels of hay in Place du Luxembourg, leaving a fire and plumes of smoke late into the evening. They plan to remain camped outside the Parliament until this afternoon.

The protest is being co-ordinated by the European Milk Board. They say the current quotas on milk production are reducing the price of milk to unsustainable levels that are far less than the cost of production. The quota, currently set 130 million tonnes, is due to be phased out by 2015. But the farmers say this is not soon enough.

The price of milk in Belgium is currently €0.26 per litre, less than the production cost of €0.40 per litre. The milk board has organised similar protests in the past, the last occurring in 2009.
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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