EP calls for measures to fight price volatility in livestock sector

The European Parliament has demanded the Commission to introduce "efficient and flexible" market mechanisms without delay to curb price volatility and speculation which are damaging European livestock sector. MEPs point to the high cereal prices as a major cause of the crisis faced by farmers which could lead to a significant reduction in meat production in the EU.

A combination of factors, including higher production costs (fuel, fertilisers and feed), greater competition from third countries, low prices paid to farmers and the high cost of complying with EU environment, animal health , food safety and labour criteria, is putting at risk the EU livestock sector. Within this context, the Eiropean Parliament approved on 11 November by show of hands, a resolution listing a number of recommendations to help improve the situation.

MEPs called on the Commission to set up as a matter of urgency efficient and flexible market mechanisms to mitigate the impact of raising prices, particularly a "safety net" for all cereal sectors, and to make use of existing instruments to alleviate the crisis in the pig meat and other livestock sectors.

Parliament notes that the Commission must fight against excessive speculation in EU and International markets and calls for  strengthened measures to support the livestock sector in disadvantaged areas.

The resolution highlights the high costs of complying with legislation on animal welfare and asks the Commission to ensure that imports from third countries meet EU standards on animal welfare in order to avoid unfair competition. In this sense, the text emphasizes that in the coming years, the areas of pig meat and poultry must meet even more stringent requirements without financial support from the EU.

Deputies also asked the Commission for a wide protection over the interests of European producers in bilateral trade negotiations with Mercosur and other third countries, avoiding concessions which could endanger the production of EU livestock sector.

The text urges the Commission to provide legal certainty for soy and corn imports from third countries through the introduction of a pragmatic threshold for the accidental presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which are not yet approved in the European Union but in phase of scientific study.

Adequate funding of the CAP

The Commission and the Council must ensure that the PAC has adequate funding after 2013 to ensure the viability of all EU agricultural producers, including farmers. Furthermore, it should strengthen the role of producer organizations in all sectors of livestock, so they can negotiate better prices for their products.

The European Commission has decided to release in late November, 2.8 million tons of stored grain to help reduce prices.