'Don't get hung up on Mercosur deal' says Hogan
Access to Asian markets immediate priority for EU Commissioner
The ball is now in the court of the Mercosur countries to decide what deal they'll offer Europe in return for increased access to the EU's prime beef market, European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has said.
Commissioner Hogan said that following talks with Mercosur countries last week regarding increasing its access in to the EU's prime beef market, the Mercosur countries must now decide what they'll offer the EU in return.
"The ball is in the court of the Mercosur countries. They can't seem to decide amongst themselves on what they're prepared to offer us in return for concessions for agriculture," he said at the the Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland Conference (PAC).
"We'll see in March what their latest proposals will be."
Ireland and a coalition of over 10 EU states are currently lobbying to restrict the potential beef offer well below 100,000 tonnes, but Mr Hogan pointed out that Europe "will need to offer a little over 70,000 tonnes" to strike a deal with the Mercosur countries.
Around 99,000t of beef access is expected to be offered, however, this has not been confirmed.
Mr Hogan explained that other EU countries would benefit from the increased market access for car trade in the Mercosur countries and that it's not just a beef debate.
"I will be protecting European agriculture as best I can but a lot of Member states will see the industrial benefits side of the equation so it's not just about beef," he said.