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Members Forum
subject Europe Regional Report
Author Mr. Eugen T첩mte
photo1 20161202151815.jpg
Date 2016-12-02
Contents Regional Report Europe
Mr. Eugen T첩mte, NAC (Norway)

A few ICAO members attended the Cogeca Presidential Forum by invitation in June. The theme for the meeting was how cooperatives respond to the challenging market situation after the abolition of Milk Quota system in the EU. The importance of strong cooperatives was highlighted. Governance of Cooperatives was one of the headlines when Nordic Farmers Organizations and Agricultural Cooperatives had their annual meeting in Sweden this autumn. The democratic member control from active members and elected leaders is essential for a good development of the cooperatives.

European Union supports Producer Organizations and Cooperatives.
In the light of the volatile market for many products, and the fact that a few strong retail chains are placing significant pressure on the farmer셲 prices, the EU authorities now support establishing Producer Organizations. This also includes Cooperatives. The economic measures so far include only some products, but the understanding of the need of cooperation between farmers is important.

On the other hand, a competition regulation in general prohibits cooperation in the market. To allow necessary exemptions for the agricultural sector is therefore very important for making it possible to create Producer Organizations and Cooperatives.

The climate challenge
All European countries are focused on the climate change and how to implement the obligations from the Paris Agreement. This will also impact the agricultural sector. Change in the climate is causing new conditions for agricultural production. At the same time, agriculture and the Agricultural Cooperatives will have to take their part of reducing greenhouse gas emission. On the other hand, a transition from fossil based economy to bio-economy is a great opportunity for agriculture and forestry. An active discussion about how the Agricultural Cooperatives and their members can take part in the growth of the new green economy is ongoing.

Agriculture and Cooperatives in Norway
The Agricultural Cooperatives in Norway have existed, in several sectors, for more than 100 years. Thanks to far-sighted farmers and their decisions, the cooperatives are developed to be strong businesses with an efficient industry and a good position in the Norwegian market. And, in most sectors, the support from the farmers is very good.
The cooperatives have played, and are playing an important role in fulfilling the goals for the Agricultural Policy in Norway. One of this is to have agricultural production in all parts of the country, mainly based on relatively small family farm. To secure this farmers income from the market, well-functioning cooperatives are essential.

The current Government is now preparing a revised Agricultural Policy, which the Norwegian Parliament will be invited to adopt next year. This Government aims to have more liberalization and competition in all sectors. We are therefore anxious about the impact of a possible new agricultural policy on the conditions for the cooperatives and their members.

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