For some years now, the price of milk has been fluctuating enormously. Between 2008 and 2009, it fell by some 50% and this has had a serious impact on the economies and the rural development of Council of Europe member and non-member states. The disparities between different states of the European Union created by the quota system and the current economic crisis have driven many milk producers to the verge of bankruptcy. However, this problem does not just relate to the member states of the European Union, as it has repercussions that are being felt beyond Europe’s borders.
The milk crisis may herald an even more serious crisis, namely that of rural development and agriculture in general, which will affect the member states of the European Union but also, and above all, the member and non-member states of the Council of Europe.
In the light of this fact, the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs expressed the view, at its meeting of 4 September 2009, that the Assembly had to react, and that the crisis warranted an in-depth discussion on the future of agriculture in Europe and the effects of Community decisions on non-member states of the European Union.