“Brexit – A critical week ahead – don’t spill the milk!”

Across the European Union (EU28), there are 700,000 dairy farms, 12,000 milk and processing sites, and more than 300,000 people working in the sector. The dairy sector is the industrial and societal backbone of rural Europe in the EU27 as much as in the UK. Even more importantly, dairy matters to consumers. Affordable and high-quality milk, cheese, butter and other products, rich in protein and healthy natural fats, are a mainstay of European diets.

“This week will determine the future direction of Brexit and with it, the future of the European and UK dairy sectors. The European dairy industry is integrated across borders. This is especially true for the island of Ireland but applies also to the rest of Europe. Brexit has the potential to create a completely new scale of a milk crisis”, said EDA chair Michel Nalet in a letter to EU Council President, Mr Donald Tusk and permanent representatives of the EU Member States ahead of the European Council meeting, this week in Brussels.

“We have elaborated jointly with our colleagues from DairyUK our concept of a ‘Future EU – UK Dairy Framework’ as a basis for a well-managed and responsible Brexit.

“Since the Brexit process began, we have consistently advocated for the UK to leave the EU with a deal that protects the close trading relationship and ensures the long-term viability of the EU dairy sector. As we have said before, a no deal would be disastrous for dairy farmers and consumers on both sides of the channel. This week is an opportunity to ensure that this doesn’t happen. And hence, it is a time of responsibility of all decision makers involved.

“If as expected, the UK asks for the date for Brexit to be extended, we would encourage and expect the European Council to accept this step and we would urge both sides to come together to work out the final details. This will ensure a smoother exit and importantly a transition period that will allow negotiations on an ambitious future trade relationship to begin quickly.”

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