As EU internal supports have fallen —dramatically in the late 1980s with the introduction of CAP reforms—and world market prices have risen (partly because of the EU reforms) this price gap has narrowed to about 100% of the undistorted world price (NRA of 1) and finally to near zero in 2007.
The same evolution can be traced from another ‘angle’ in the OECD Producer Subsidy Equivalent (PSE) data for milk. PSEs have fallen to zero (and below) for milk in Europe as world prices rose and the EC dropped first intervention buying and then duties when world prices rose to European levels.
So why has the EC now re-introduced the distortions that have so recently been wrung out of the system? Because European farmers are willing to live with the world price only if it’s a high one. When the competitive world price falls—because the wholesalers and processors in the rest of the world can’t get the credit to finance imports and working stocks—the European governments export the adverse impacts on price and investment and employment on the back of the new subsidies, to be borne by the rest of the world, including developing countries.