Farm Ireland

Thursday 27 October 2016

Hogan warning on 'Brexit' threat

Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30

European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.
European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan said that a Britain that stays in the EU punches with the weight of 500 million people - almost twice the size of the US.

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Speaking in the context of a potential Brexit, Mr Hogan stressed that it could take the UK years to negotiate deals with countries such as Korea and Canada.

"How would Britain with a population of 60m fare negotiating with countries like China, with a population of 1.3bn?" Mr Hogan questioned as he addressed the Oxford Farming Conference.

He stressed that access to the EU's internal market would come "at a price" if Britain were outside the union.

The commissioner stressed the many benefits of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the UK's farmers as he pointed out that it exports more produce to Ireland than to China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea combined.

He stressed that it was not for him to tell British people how to vote on the UK's membership of a reformed EU.

He said things have changed since the 1970s when the mention of CAP conjured up images of butter and beef mountains.

It comes as a new Eurobarometer survey shows 70pc of Europeans believe the EU is fulfilling its role in securing Europe's food supply.

Most Europeans feel CAP is either fairly or very important for stimulating jobs and growth, it found. In Ireland, just over half of people thought CAP funding was at the right level, while most want to see levels maintained or increased.

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