Milk quotas come to an end after 31 years in place

Today is the last day of the milk quota regime, introduced in 1984 as a temporary measure to address the structural oversupply on the EU market that had led to the infamous “milk lakes” and “butter mountains”. The EU Member States and the European Commission decided in 2003 that quotas would not be prolonged beyond 2015, and since then transitional steps to provide a “soft landing” were put in place, such as a gradual increase of national quotas. Now, with the global demand expected to increase by an average of 2,1% a year, the end of quotas means that EU farmers will be able to fully benefit from this growth, especially for added-value products like cheese. Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, stressed that “The end of the era of milk quotas represents the closing of a chapter in the history of the European – and indeed global – dairy sector. It represents the opening of a new chapter – a new era without production constraints.“Several support measures remain in place for milk producers: from direct payments and voluntary coupled support to investments through rural development programmes or even public intervention and private storage if need be. The Milk Package also reinforces the dairy farmers’ position in the market chain.