Hogan comes under fire from Irish MEPs on 'Armageddon' Mercosur
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan came under fire from Irish MEPs on “Armageddon” Mercosur deal at the first meeting of the new EU Parliament Agri committee.
Independent Midlands North West MEP Luke Ming Flanagan questioned why the Commissioner introduced a €50m fund for the Irish beef sector where reduction of production was an option and weeks later signed a provisional Mercosur deal where 99,000 tonnes of beef would be coming from countries where production was “anything but sustainable.”
“As you know Commissioner, Ireland exports a quarter of a million of beef to the UK each year, if he (Boris Johnson) goes ahead with a no deal Brexit then our beef farmers face Armageddon,” he said.
“At a time where Ireland faces the possibility of losing access to its most important market, at a time where the Commission accepts, because you’re giving money to Ireland, so that means it accepts that it’s under pressure, how does it make any sense to contemplate such a deal?
“As one farmer says to me, please explain why you offered a €50m insurance policy to Ireland one week then the following week cut the brake cable on the same vehicle and now it’s about to crash in to the wall?”
Commissioner Hogan responded that if Mr Flanagan is “against the beef package fair enough, tell your farmers not to take it ,they don’t have to take it. If you’re against it you’re entitled to your opinion.”
Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy added that farmers don’t want a financial package but want to be able to earn a living for their product.
“The only question I have is how does it make environmental sense to transport 100,000 tonnes of beef to the far end of the world to supplant the best quality product in Europe?” asked Mr Carthy.
Mr Hogan assured MEPS that the EU wasn’t sacrificing agriculture for any other sector and that 100pc of beef from Mercosur countries that enters the EU is checked.
“If the UK do leave the EU they are likely to do deals with other countries and if they do a deal with other Mercosur countries they will have to respect the standards we negotiated with Mercosur.”
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