European dairy farmers set hay on fire and spilled milk in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Monday (21 September) and warned their protest over low milk prices would intensify.
The European Union agreed steps yesterday (23 July) to help stabilise falling dairy prices, scrapping the minimum price for cheese to qualify for export subsidies and extending purchases of butter and milk powder.
The EU has limited scope to help struggling dairy farmers over the next two years, but is investigating whether big supermarkets are using their buying power unfairly against them, a European Commission report on the dairy market situation shows.
Europe's farm chief yielded some ground on Monday amid demands for aid to help the European Union's dairy sector cope with low prices and poor exports, offering to advance EU subsidy payments to all eligible farmers. But she rejected calls from small farmers to restore milk quotas.
Marianne Fischer Boel, the EU's agriculture commissioner, yesterday (23 March) dismissed calls by Germany and four other EU nations to reinstate milk quotas in an effort to support prices, which have plunged dramatically in recent months.