Farm bodies call on Phil Hogan to review EU position on Mercosur

Phil Hogan: He will become only the second Irish politician to hold two terms back-to-back. Photo: Reuters
Phil Hogan: He will become only the second Irish politician to hold two terms back-to-back. Photo: Reuters
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Farming organisations are calling on Phil Hogan to seek a review of the EU Commission's position on Mercosur.

It comes as the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed his intention to nominate Hogan for a second term as Ireland's member of the European Commission.

ICMSA President Pat McCormack said, that whatever portfolio Commissioner Hogan receives in the new EU Commission, he must ensure that the key challenges faced by EU farmers and in particular Brexit, Mercusor, Climate Change and CAP Post 2020 become central priorities for the new EU Commission.

"Farmers are rightly and justifiably concerned that big business appears to dominate the EU agenda and all other aspects including farming are secondary priorities.  

"The Mercusor agreement is a case in point and ICMSA believes that the new EU Commission will simply have to review its position on Mercusor, will have to set down strict and clear procedures on all EU food imports and will once and for all ensure that EU farmers are only competing with produce that meets the same standards of EU produce."

IFA President Joe Healy said the re-appointment of Phil Hogan as Ireland’s EU Commissioner is an opportunity for Ireland to secure a portfolio that allows Ireland to have the maximum influence on EU policy.

“Commissioner Hogan will be facing some very serious challenges, particularly from the next CAP Budget and reform; Brexit; trade deals; and climate action,” he said.

“While farmers are very angry and frustrated with the EU Commission over the Mercosur trade deal, overall it has been important to have a strong Irish voice steering agricultural policy at EU level,” he said.

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Joe Healy said the work done by Commissioner Hogan in tackling unfair trading practices was an important step towards a fairer food chain for farmers. “Whatever portfolio the Commissioner Hogan is allocated in the new Commission, we hope he will continue to drive this issue,” he said. 

“The next CAP will have a hugely significant impact on the future direction of Irish farming. It is important to have a Commissioner who understands how important it is for Irish agriculture.  We expect Phil Hogan to make a very strong case for CAP funding. The advantage and experience of holding a second term is something that must be maximised,” he said.

“Through our Brussels office, we look forward to maintaining a high level of engagement with the Commissioner and his officials on behalf of Irish farmers,” he said.

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