Dairy farmers across Europe have been sending fresh milk to the office of EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to protest against the commission’s dairy policy.
They said Mr Juncker failed to react to an open letter from the European Milk Board (EMB), which called for EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan to be removed from office.
“Our message: Too much milk creates problems! President Juncker should now experience this up close!” said the EMB in a statement.
Dairy farmers have accused Mr Juncker of standing by and watching while milk producers are weakened and many businesses are on the brink of collapse.
An oversupply of milk and subsequent low milk prices has brought many dairy farmers’ businesses to the brink of collapse.
Since April, milk production in many European countries has increased significantly.
For example, In Ireland between April and August 2015 production increased by more than 12% compared with the same period last year.
In Germany, the Netherlands and Poland as well production volumes rose by more than 7, 2.5 and 3.3%, respectively.
Following the abolition of EU milk quotas, the EMB has accused Mr Juncker and Mr Hogan of failing to recognise the current crisis and take action to stem the oversupply of milk in the marketplace.
EMB president Romuald Schaber has urged the EU Commission to introduce an efficient tool top limit overproduction of milk.
The EMB has developed such a tool, a Market Responsibility Programme (MRP), to oblige farmers to act responsibly and produce less milk. Under such a system, dairy farmers who voluntarily produce less would be paid a bonus.
“This will enable us to create a predictable environment and also secure milk production throughout the EU for consumers”, said Mr Schaber.
As part of the Milk For Juncker protest, dairy farmers from the Luxembourg Dairy Board (LBD) are planning to take 50 milk cartons to a post office in Luxembourg with their tractors on Friday (18 December) to send to Mr Juncker’s office.
Meanwhile, dairy farmers have been staging protests across Europe over low milk prices.
German dairy producers used German chancellor Merkel’s visit to East Frisia to call attention to the situation of dairy farmers. On 7 December, 140 tractors circulated in front of the meeting venue, provoking massive disturbances in traffic.
In an open letter, Germany’s main dairy federation, BDM, has called on the chancellor to “put order in the dairy market”.
Spanish dairy producers used hundreds of tractors to blockade supermarkets on Thursday 10 December in the region of A Coruña, north-west Spain. The EMB’s Spanish member organisation OPL has announced further dairy protests will take place after parliamentary elections on 20 December.