VILNIUS – Even though a member of the European Commission has said that the EU Commission does not intend to provide urgent support for Lithuanian milk producers, the country’s agriculture minister hopes he will manage to convince Brussels to act differently.
“We’ve received a reply and I wouldn't say that the European Commission has refused. It said that, yes, we are monitoring the situation… They said that they saw no reasons to activate the crisis reserve for the time being,” Kestutis Navickas said during a news conference after President Gitanas Nauseda’s meeting with representatives of agriculture, food industry and trade on Wednesday.
“Now we have been joined by Latvians, we are moving forward as two countries, strengthening our arguments… and hoping for their [positive] decision,” he added.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stated in a letter to Kestutis Navickas that milk purchase prices had been growing for two years and, at some point, had risen to record levels across the EU, including Lithuania, whereas current developments did not constitute “a serious market imbalance”.
“After two years of continuous growth in milk prices, the current price correction does not come as a surprise in the milk sector. An expected, market correction cannot be misinterpreted as a serious market imbalance that would justify activating market safety net instruments at this point in time,” the EU commissioner said in the letter seen by BNS.
In addition to urgent support from the EU's Agricultural Crisis Reserve, Navickas also asked the EU Commission for an urgent increase in the long-standing intervention prices for skimmed milk powder and butter and the activation of the private storage measure for these products and for all long-ripening cheeses.
In this regard, the EU commissioner stressed that this should be considered a last resort mechanism.