I welcome the fact that, at this morning’s CMO Committee meeting, Member States responded to the latest Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) tender and agreed to accept the Commission’s recommendation to sell a further 18,514 tonnes of SMP at a price of €1585/tonne. The Commission will confirm officially the outcome of the Committee meeting this afternoon.

This means that we have now sold 376 000 tonnes of the 380 000 tonnes bought into intervention over the last three years. We can now say, with confidence, that we have placed effectively all of the stock taken into intervention back onto the market. This morning’s figure brings the proportion of the stock sold to 99% per cent.

Moreover, we have done this in a patient and prudent way with the aim, at all times, of supporting the incomes of European dairy farmers.  Despite the calls from some to reduce stocks through other ways or even by simply destroying the stocks, we resisted such calls. The outcome of this morning’s vote and this latest tender is a clear vindication of the Commission’s prudential approach to the management of the stock of SMP.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of the co-legislators and I want to express my appreciation to the members of COMAGRI and the Council who supported the Commission’s approach. Together, we have shown that public intervention has proven to be an effective tool, especially when used in a responsible and effective manner. The process is a clear demonstration of the EU’s commitment to support European farmers when the circumstances demand it. It also illustrates that the CMO provides an effective safety net in the event of such market disturbance.