Back proposal to re-introduce dairy exports refunds, Coveney urged

Simon Coveney: Asked to support proposal.

The re-introduction of dairy export refunds is being proposed by Poland in advance of a European Union Agriculture Council meeting on Monday.

Irish Farmers Association Dairy Committee chairman Sean O’Leary has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to support the proposal.

Mr O’Leary said the proposal is seeking the re-introduction of export refunds to clear surplus product from the EU market.

It is also looking for an elimination or reduction of the 2014/2015 super levy fine for over quota farmers in recognition of the pressure on milk prices linked to the Russian ban.

He said Mr Coveney must support his Polish colleague in pressing his Agriculture Council colleagues for decisive market support measures. These will help turnaround international buyers’ sentiments, badly dented by a market imbalance and the knock-on effect of the Russian ban.

Mr O’Leary said the IFA has sought a meeting with incoming EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to address this issue.

But the current commissioner, who remains in charge until November 1, has said he would take action on the soft landing if there was a qualified majority of Council members in favour. The minister now has an opportunity to support his Polish colleague in seeking to create this majority, he said.

Mr O’Leary said the IFA has already stated that the necessary market support measures must be funded from non-CAP budgets in light of the geopolitical nature of this crisis.

The Commission must review the safety net intervention price levels to reflect rising costs and it must help exporters find alternative markets with simplified bureaucracy and targeted export refunds.

It must also make full use of the €409m in EU super levy fines collected for this year to support dairy markets, he said.


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