Talks held to revamp struggling EU beef sector

An EU working group has been set up to find ways to address the problems facing Europe’s beef sector.

EU farm leader Dacian Ciolos said cost of production and poor margins have left beef farmers across Europe under pressure.

He said new ideas were needed so markets took into account variations in producer margins.

Speaking at the Informal Agriculture Council in Debrecen at the weekend (29 May), Commissioner Cioloş said many livestock farmers were “feeling the strain” because of spiralling production costs.

“Clearly we need to look at this urgently and this is why I am going to convene a special working group in the coming days to look specifically at the beef sector – in order to benefit from the ideas from the beef sector and from the Member States,” he said.

“My aim would be for this group to draw up conclusions by the end of June, so that they can be discussed by ministers in July and so that we can actually integrate any new ideas into our CAP reform proposals.

“In future we must improve our market instruments to better take into account significant variations in producer margins.

Paolo Bruni, president of EU farming cooperative’s body Cogeca, welcomed the move and said it was vital EU farmers’ position in the food chain was strengthened to ensure better returns.

“The best way of doing this is by concentrating supply via the development of producer organisations, such as co-operatives.

“Co-operatives are vital to ensure a competitive agri-food sector and play an important role in animal husbandry.

“Action is however needed to tackle unfair commercial practices and to ensure imports meet the EU’s high sanitary requirements, to make sure that the EU’s high quality standards are not undermined.”

Mr Brunos said it was crucial to have updated tools to manage the market to help farmers cope with the new challenges, especially increasing market volatility.

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