[QODLink]
Europe

Farmers spray EU parliament with milk

Hundreds of angry farmers from across Europe protesting at falling dairy prices have sprayed fresh milk in Brussels.
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2012 20:21
Thousands of dairy farmers joined a demonstration to urge politicians to take action over the milk market [Reuters]

Dairy farmers sprayed thousands of litres of fresh milk at the EU parliament in Brussels in protest at what they say are excessive milk quotas and prices below the cost of production.

Hundreds of farmers from across Europe took up position with tractors in a park near the European Commission and at a square in front of the parliament building in the early afternoon on Monday, after blocking traffic along several of Brussels' busiest streets.

They then turned their hoses on parliament, a collection of vast marble, glass and steel buildings on a downtown city square, unleashing torrents of milk, some of it raining down on police and passers-by.

Afterwards, they set alight barrels of hay and a pile of tyres, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.
They planned to stay put outside parliament until Tuesday afternoon.

Milk quotas

The European Milk Board, which co-ordinated the two-day protest, said prices with current quotas were putting small
farmers out of business.

Follow our comprehensive Euro Crisis spotlight coverage

In Belgium, for example, the board said the wholesale price for a litre of milk was 0.26 euros, but the cost of producing it is 0.40 euros.

The EU is the world's largest milk producer and spends more than 40 per cent of its annual 130 billion euro ($173bn) budget paying subsidies and other forms of financial support to farmers, including those in the diary industry.

It sets an annual milk production quota - which sits at around 130 million tonnes, too much for EU-consumption - but has agreed to phase that out by 2015.

Farmers have held similar protests in the past, including one in 2009 which led to a small increase in wholesale prices.

On Monday, tractors came from across Belgium as well as neighbouring France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Among a total of nearly 2,500 farmers, around 100 came from Poland, with many other nationalities also present.

331

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
Local painters forgo experimentation to cater to growing number of foreign buyers.
Cyprus is a tax haven and has long attracted wealthy Russians, but it could become a European energy hub.
Palestinians in Gaza have been shocked by the scale of Israeli destruction, as long-term truce efforts continue.
The Positive Action Foundation Philippines, manned by HIV-positive staff, provides care to those who have no one else.
join our mailing list