Dairy farmers block Liege airport in Belgium (VIDEO)
The Belgian association of dairy producers is demanding an increase of four euro cents per liter - to 29 cents. Some of the more radical protesters say the optimal price which would save them from going bankrupt is 60 cents per liter.
On April 1, the European Union scrapped milk quotas, putting an end to three decades of government intervention to control the production and price of milk in Europe. This subsequently led to a drop in consumer milk prices to 25 cents per liter. Farmers claim the current price level does not cover production costs, and that they are slowly going bankrupt.
Demand for milk has plummeted since Russia, EU’s former largest buyer of butter and cheese, embargoed dairy products from Europe. The Brussels-based European farmers union Copa Cogeca, which includes about 60 agricultural organizations from all around the EU, estimated the losses at about €5.5 billion.
On September 7, Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU Presidency, will convene an extraordinary meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels to discuss the crisis in the dairy and cattle sectors. Copa Cogeca is expected to hold protests that day.