Farmers spray milk powder on EU Council to protest dairy market overcapacity

Dairy farmers protesting low milk prices sprayed a ton of milk powder onto a building used by EU leaders for summits in Brussels on Monday, January 23rd, saying a planned sale of milk powder stocks would depress prices in Europe and abroad.

The European Union has bought large quantities of skimmed milk powder to stabilize the market but said in November it would start disposing of some of it after prices had improved.

Farmers protesting in front of the European Council's Justus Lipsius building, where EU governments regularly meet, said they feared that putting the milk powder back onto the market would depress prices in the EU and abroad.

Protesters used farm machinery to cover the building and nearby police officers in a thick coat of the sticky, white powder.

The European Commission said only a small amount of the total milk powder stock of 354,000 tonnes was for sale and sales would be made without affecting prices or market stability.