The so-called "Milk Package", designed with a view to the longer term future of the dairy sector following the end of the EU dairy quota system in 2015, is fully applicable from today.
Drafted on the basis of the conclusions of a special High Level Group set up after the 2009 milk market crisis, this series of measures is aimed at boosting the position of dairy producers in the dairy supply chain and preparing the sector for a more market-oriented and sustainable future.
The new regulation was published on 30 March 2012, with some elements entering into force on 2 April and others only today (6 months later).
Commenting on the new rules, Commissioner Cioloş said:" It is a step change for the milk sector taking place today with the milk package being fully implemented. It is important that producers take advantage of this new regulatory framework to get better organized and thus to carry real clout in the food chain".
The package provides for written contracts between milk producers and processors and for the possibility to negotiate contract terms collectively via producer organizations. It also sets out new specific EU rules for inter-branch organizations, allowing actors in the dairy supply chain to dialogue and carry out certain activities. The package also entails a series of transparency-enhancing measures.
The measures will apply until mid-2020. The Commission is mandated to report in 2014 and 2018 on the market situation and the implementation of the measures. These reports (to the Council and the European Parliament) will assess in particular the effect of these measures on milk producers and milk production in disadvantaged regions and will cover potential incentives to encourage farmers to enter into joint production agreements.