Agricultural ministers last night failed to agree on changes to the proposed butterfat adjustment.

Speaking at a press conference after the discussion, the European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said the Commission has taken note of the butterfat situation and had undertaken to do a report on the implementation of the milk package and an analysis of the current situation of the milk market.

He said that despite the favourable prospects dairying is an industry not safe from fluctuations, so we have to ensure we have all the tools to deal with such crisis situations. “Milk will remain on the table of European decision makers for the coming period.”

He went on to explain why the Commission did not force through any change on buttefat. “All I could do was take note of the discussion that took place today. Unfortunately it was not possible to get a qualified majority. I have been explaining for some months why this qualified majority is important…because the Council took a decision on the fat correction that comes into play in calculating production.

“The Commission, at the request of the Council, can exercise its powers on request, but it cannot act on its own bat and needs clear political support (which is the same qualified majority) that decided on the butterfat situation and which decided on ending milk quotas.”

He went on to say that producers need clear decisions from policy makers. “In spring, producers take decisions about milk production and make a plan based on their quota entitlement. It’s important that we send out a clear message as early as possible. It is important we give a clear and definitive response to producers.”

The topic has now moved into the Italian presidency.