The current state of Europe’s dairy and pigmeat sectors has been identified by EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, as the key concerns facing member state farm ministers when they hold their emergency meeting in Brussels on September 7.
Speaking at European Commission (EC) headquarters this week, he told journalists that while he was aware there were “limitations” on how much the Commission could do to improve the present state of both sectors, he was committed to exploring all possible solutions during the emergency session and through a “likely” agriculture committee meeting at the European parliament on the following day.
Commissioner Hogan was keen, however, to rule out any actions which might “compromise” the EU’s market orientation, stating that he was against taking any short-term measures to deal with the current crisis which might, in turn, drive producers to put products into intervention rather than seek new market opportunities.
When asked what the Commission was doing, therefore, in terms of opening new routes for dairy product and pigmeat exports, he replied that, in addition to the recently concluded free trade agreement with Vietnam, his officials were working on no fewer than 41 development programmes, involving dairy and pigmeat opportunities, across “various countries”.
This initiative, he added, included advanced trade negotiations with Japan which look set to be completed “early in 2016”.
Commissioner Hogan also announced that he was meeting farm ministers from several member states this week and next, ahead of the planned emergency session.