Phil Hogan: 'Risk of a no deal Brexit is substantial, there's no point pretending otherwise'
The risk of a no deal Brexit is substantial, and there is no point pretending otherwise, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has warned.
Commissioner Hogan told delegates at the European Dairy Association’s Annual Convention in Dublin Castle that Ireland, which is one of the most exposed countries to the consequences of Brexit “has to be prepared for the worst-case scenario” of a no deal.
“The risk of a no deal Brexit is still substantial, and there is no point pretending otherwise. I have been a strong and consistent advocate for Ireland to be fully prepared for all possible outcomes, particularly the worst case scenario,” he said.
“No country has as much exposure to Brexit as Ireland, and our agri-food sector is particularly at risk.”
He pointed out that 98pc of UK dairy imports come from EU countries and that 10,500 lorries pass through the port of Dover every day. In a no-deal scenario, he said that a seven-minute additional waiting period for inspections would add 10 hours of delays and additional cost of €111 per container.
“The channel tunnel carries 27pc of French products by value into the UK, and 42pc of French imports back from the UK,” he added.
“The simple reality is that free and frictionless trade will require the UK to retain a high degree of convergence with EU rules. A full 70pc of UK agri-food imports came from the EU in 2017.
“I hope that these very stark statistics help to clarify minds in London. The rubber is finally hitting the runway this week, and reality is starting to bite, let’s hope that reality starts to bite in London.”
Mr Hogan said that the EU should “take heart” from a document published by the Commission this week which outlined its preparedness for a no deal Brexit and to swiftly list the UK as a third country.
On climate targets, Commissioner Hogan said that its time that farmers “become part of the solution rather than always being seen as the problem” and reminded delegates of the requirements on them to meet Paris Climate Agreement targets by 2030.
“We have to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 40pc by 2030 that’s not far away. All member states are signed up to this. The question is what are we going to do about our targets?” he said.
“How are we going to inform our farmers and how are we going to be clear-sighted enough to make sure agriculture faces up to this challenge? The backdrop to these agreements cannot be ignored, and if you ignore them, you ignore them at your peril. This is the new reality that faces every farmer in Europe.”