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Last of the Butter Mountain

  • March 30th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

catle-in-field-small.jpgThe European union has demolished its famous butter mountain, a distinctive part of the stockpile of unsold, subsidised farm products which for decades caused trouble between Europe and its trading competitors, especially Australia.A new subsidies scheme, based on compliance with farm management standards, has broken the tie with a system that saw farmers produce more to get more subsidies – causing complaints about distorted world markets.

The European Union has just decided, 29.3.07, to sell off the last of the so-called butter intervention stocks, kept since 1964.

The EU Agriculture Commissioner, Marian Fischer Boel, could not quite say that hundreds of billions of dollars might have been used misguidedly, but was not sorry to see the mountain go.

“I would not say it’s the end of a bad policy,” she said.

“But it was the end of a policy that was necessary in an interim period, without the tools to manage a system to reduce the surplus production.”

Stocks totalling just over 6000 tonnes of butter will be sold from storages in the Czech Republic, Finland and Spain, to wind up the long-term storage which in the early 1980’s grew to 1.3-million tonnes.

There will be some “minor residual quantities” in stores, scarcely a rise, bump or hillock on the trading landscape.
The Commissioner says a milk lake has also gone, and stocks of sugar, and wine, will be next.