Aimo Vainio, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, Finland
On Tuesday, the European Commission announced a €28m support package for milk producers in the Baltic countries; Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. There was nothing for Finland and this has annoyed Finnish farmers as they are expecting a lot compensation. The Finnish agriculture minister said on Wednesday that he’s disappointed by the news, that he will continue negotiations and he’s going to call Commissioner Hogan about the matter. He’s not saying bad things about Hogan but I think he is quite annoyed about it. Hogan’s justification for not giving Finland compensation is that our milk prices haven’t dropped enough yet. However, the majority of co-ops in Finland are farmer owned and they have been doing their best to keep prices high. However, official statistics for October are due out shortly for October and I think they will show a significant price decrease.
Gabriel Razi, Industria Carnii, Romania
I have moderately positive opinion regarding Mr. Hogan I can’t say too much about him in that he’s not notorious in the EU scene, like Ciolos. But in comparison in Ciolos, he’s going to have to do a very good job. For example Ciolos gave Romanian farmers special attention. By this I mean, every time Ciolos came to Bucharest, he participated in a public conference to talk about CAP. Now I think Romanian expect Mr Hogan to continue to the reform of CAP and fine tune it. A lot of CAP money flies away from the farming industry in Romania and I’m sure in other parts of Europe. It would be good to see more control of the usage of CAP money.
Andrea Guolo, AGRAnews, Italy:
Expectations are high at the moment in Italy. It’s quite hard for farmers with the problems caused by the Russian embargo. It has impacted good quality food productions and big brands like parmesan cheese and other luxury products. This is a situation we expect him to solve. There are also similar problems with the cattle business, similar to what Ireland is experiencing. The average bovine animal that goes to slaughter is making a net loss of €135. We are also afraid that the TTIP discussions will impact of the agricultural trade.
Tina Buthat, Agrmanager, Germany
One of the most difficult problems in Germany at present is the whole debate about GMOs. It’s very popular in Germany to debate it. A lot of the general public are against GMOs. However, farmers aren’t. Each EU country can make their own decision about GMOs. However, in Germany each state (e.g. Bavaria) doesn’t have the same opinion about GMOs so it’s causing a lot of problems. Greening is also a big topic in Germany as farmers are very angry about it as they don’t know what to grow in their fields and what exactly the rules are. Farmers in Germany hope that Commissioner Hogan will simplify the greening rules because it’s a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy.
Barbara Remec, Kmecki Glas, Slovenia
I think farmers in Slovenia are quite concerned about what is going to happen when milk quota go. The average size of a farm is 6.5 hectares. There are a lot of mountain farms and a lot old people in farming. We need to do more about education and directing young people into farming. At the minutes milk prices are between 34c and 38c. There is also a lot of talk about sugar beet. We were forced to stop growing it a number of years ago. However, a lot a farmers want to start growing it again.
Jez Fredenburgh, Farmers Weekly, UK
I guess farmers in the UK are quite pleased that Phil Hogan has been appointed Commissioner and perceive him as well-qualified for the role. I think people have welcomed the fact he has said he is going to simplify CAP. I think UK farmers are also quite concerned about the TTIP and Mercosur negotiations. People will be hoping that Commissioner Hogan stands up for beef farmers in particular and make sure we are not swamped by cheaper imports.