Official Journal of the European Union

CE 74/42

Thursday 11 November 2010
Crisis in the EU livestock sector


European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the crisis in the EU livestock sector

2012/C 74 E/07

The European Parliament,

having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2010 on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013 (1),

having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2010 on fair revenues for farmers: a better functioning food supply chain in Europe (2),

having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on evaluation and assessment of the animal welfare action plan 2006-2010 (3),

having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,


whereas the viability of many EU livestock holdings is being seriously threatened at present by a combination of factors, which include:

the rising costs of inputs, such as fuel and fertilisers,

the high cost of complying with EU regulations,

greater competition from third-country imports,

a dependence on third countries for feed material,

the recent surge in cereals prices, due particularly to unforeseen climatic conditions and the negative impact of speculation and price volatility,

the low prices being received by farmers for meat products,


whereas European producers must comply with the most stringent regulations in the world in terms of food safety and quality, the environment, animal health and welfare and labour conditions; whereas meeting these extremely high standards adds significantly to the production costs of European producers, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis third-country producers,


whereas the current crisis in the livestock sector may lead to a significant reduction in meat production across the European Union, which will have serious consequences, not only for prices but also for food security in the EU, and will result in greater dependence on imports,


whereas the European Union is highly dependent on soya beans and maize imported from third countries, and whereas any interruption of the supply of these products resulting from a minute presence of non-authorized GMOs has a very costly impact on the European feed industry and livestock farmers (for example, EUR 1 billion if the disruption lasts six months),


whereas imports from third countries have been gaining market shares in the European Union and putting further pressure on market prices for livestock products,


whereas world demand for meat and other livestock products will rise in the coming decades, owing to a combination of a growing world population and increasing purchasing power in developing countries, leading to the adoption of a westernised diet,


whereas the large-scale investments required in the livestock sector make it particularly vulnerable to market crises,


whereas, in certain new Member States very few farmers in the livestock sector have benefited from direct payments and have therefore had greater difficulties in complying with the stringent European standards that require costly investment,


whereas the pig and poultry sectors do not receive any direct support from the CAP, have no safety net to alleviate the impact of market volatility and must comply with the most stringent EU regulations regarding the environment and animal welfare,


whereas the gap between prices paid by consumers and prices received by producers has grown noticeably,


whereas primary producers are being squeezed between large multinational processors and retailers, who buy their produce, and large multinational supply companies, who provide their inputs,


whereas small livestock holdings in the EU are inextricably linked to the economies of Europe's rural areas and deliver significant environmental benefits, and whereas many of them are situated in less-favoured areas where there are no viable production alternatives,


whereas the situation on the beef market is closely linked to developments in the dairy sector, given that 60 % of EU red meat production comes from dairy cows,


whereas the EU dairy sector has been facing extreme market volatility since 2007, which has had a detrimental effect on dairy farmers’ incomes and on their ability sustainably to produce quality food for European consumers,


whereas Commission data on the functioning of the food supply chain shows that there is a need for more transparency and more information relating to production and market developments,


Calls on the Commission and the Council to ensure that the post-2013 CAP is adequately financed, in order to guarantee the viability of all EU farmers, including livestock farmers; stresses, in this context, that fair competition between farmers in the Member States must be guaranteed;


Calls on the Commission urgently to introduce efficient and flexible market mechanisms in the livestock sector and to put in place the measures needed to limit, across the agricultural sector as a whole, the impact of price volatility and speculation;


Calls on the Commission to make use of the available market mechanisms to alleviate the current crisis in the pigmeat sector and other livestock sectors;


Notes the Commission's intention to release 2,8 million tonnes of cereals currently stored in intervention by the end of November, via a tendering process;


Calls on the Commission to propose market tools that guarantee an appropriate supply of cereals for animal feed; believes that a safety net should be applied in all cereals sectors, with a minimum intervention price for the tendering system;


Calls on the Commission to take the necessary steps to fight against the excesses of speculation on Community markets as well as on the world market, in particular in the framework of the new Financial Instruments Directive;


Asks the Commission to propose flexible market mechanisms which enable the Union to respond more quickly to critical situations within the Single CMO (Article 186);


Supports, as a matter of urgency, the introduction of a protein plan for the European Union that would promote the cultivation of protein and leguminous crops, which could also play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions;


Expresses serious concern at the recent consolidation in the fertiliser market, which has led to a situation on many national markets whereby there is effectively only one supplier and no competition; calls, therefore, on the Commission to ask the competition authorities to investigate and take the necessary action to prevent price fixing and abuses of dominant positions;


Asks the Commission to ensure, in the context of increased consolidation, that a free market exists in the inputs sector, including fertilisers, given that energy and fertilisers are essential for agricultural production and food security;


Asks the Commission to take into account, as part of the next CAP reform, the special vulnerability of certain livestock sectors – for example, grassland beef production - and the unfair conditions under which they are competing with third countries;


Asks the Commission to consider, as part of the next CAP reform, specific measures to prevent serious losses of EU support for livestock farmers that employ sustainable production methods;


Calls on the Commission to step up measures to support the livestock sector in less- favoured areas;


Calls on the Commission actively to seek to simplify and reduce the bureaucratic burden imposed on farmers in the livestock sector;


Considers it necessary to provide the European Union with a tool to forecast world market trends;


Asks the Commission and the Member States to take into account the high costs of complying with animal welfare legislation, especially as these costs are not reflected in sale prices; calls, therefore, on the Commission to ensure that third-country imports comply with EU animal welfare standards, in order to prevent unfair competition; stresses that in the coming years the pigmeat and the poultry sectors will have to comply with still more stringent requirements, without any financial support from the European Union;


Calls on the Commission to evaluate the economic impact of the introduction of new animal welfare rules, and emphasises that before any new legislation is drafted, existing rules – whether general or specific – should be properly enforced;


Considers that primary producers are being ‘squeezed’ between high input prices and low consumer prices, owing to the strong positions of processors, retailers and input companies in the food supply chain, and therefore cannot fully benefit from increased output prices;


Calls on the Commission to propose a strengthening of producer organisations in all livestock sectors, in order to enable them to negotiate better prices for their products while taking into account the production costs;


Asks the Commission to ensure that the actions it takes on trade and agriculture are not in conflict with each other and to recognise that there is a need for a balanced set of objectives which ensures progress on trade whilst providing the European livestock sector with a sustainable future;


Calls on the Commission fully to safeguard the interests of European producers in bilateral trade negotiations with Mercosur and other third countries, by avoiding any concessions that could put EU livestock production at risk;


Calls on the Commission to provide legal certainty for imports of soy and maize from third countries by introducing a pragmatic threshold for the adventitious presence of GMOs which are not yet authorized in the European Union but are under scientific consideration;


Asks the European Commission to review the current ban on meat and bone meal for non-ruminants and to evaluate the possibility of lifting the restrictions under conditions which would ensure a maximum level of food safety;


Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1)  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0286.

(2)  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0302.

(3)  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0130.