Earlier in the month I wrote that Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel was holding the line against protesting dairy farmers and a clutch of national agriculture ministers looking for more aid for their troubled farmers. It looks as though I spoke too soon. At this month’s farm council, Commissioner Fischer Boel found a further 280 million euro from the 2010 budget to give to dairy farmers, in addition to measures announced last month.
Complaining that the farm ministers “have been plucking off my last feather”, she said that this would be the last time:
“There will be no possibility for any delegation to come and ask for more money now. And I say this as I see some other sectors of agriculture facing some problems.”
I hope some of this largesse will be funded from the 99 million euro in levies against member states that have exceeded their milk quota.
With only a few months left in office, this may well be a promise she’s able to keep, though who’s to say what goodies her successor will wish to serve up while settling into his or her new job. One thing is for certain, the farmers will still be there with their begging bowl. After all, Jackie Cahill, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association welcomed Fischer Boel’s latest move as follows:
“It is a totally inadequate response with the income situation we have. It is not going anywhere near solving the crisis.”
No good deed goes unpunished.