6 October 1995

Cross-border quota trade answer

CROSS-BORDER trading of milk quota was effectively banned back in 1992 during a review of the CAP, says Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Robin Teverson.

He wrote to EU farm commissioner, Franz Fischler, and to the EU competition commissioner, Karel van Miert to demand the introduction of cross-border trading but both replied that it was not possible.

Frustrated by their lack of explanation, Mr Teverson asked the Brussels legal department to investigate. It discovered that a political decision was taken during the 1992 CAP review which banned quota transfer between member states. They found that the milk quota regime was exempt from any EU competition rules, including the trading laws within the single market.

Mr Teverson insists that if some countries do not use all their quota then it should be available to countries like the UK, where quota can only meet 85% of the demand for milk.

"Within Europe the transfer of milk quota between member states should be allowed. The fact that it is not demands a change in Community law," he said.

Mr Teverson has written to farm minister, Douglas Hogg, demanding that the 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference discusses a review of the CAP. "Within these discussions I would like to see the problems of milk quotas tackled once and for all."