The Irish Farmers’ Association and the French farmers’ union FNSEA held a bilateral meeting in Dublin today, ahead of this week’s vital Brexit votes in London.
Both associations are strongly supporting the EU27 position on Brexit. They want to see a deal that does the least possible damage to Irish and French farmers and EU agriculture.
IFA President Joe Healy and the President of FNSEA Christiane Lambert said safeguarding the integrity of the EU Single Market and Customs Union is an essential element of any outcome.
“A ‘no deal’ would be very detrimental to Irish & French farmers, but the EU must remain firm on the Withdrawal Agreement. After all, this was agreed with the EU by the UK Government,” the two Presidents stated.
“But, if we end up in a ‘no deal’ scenario, we expect the Commission to stand by their commitment to support European farmers in the strongest possible way,” they said.
Joe Healy and Christiane Lambert re-affirmed their commitment to the backstop and acknowledged the steadfast position of the EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and the solidarity of the other Member States.
“IFA & FNSEA share the dual objective of maintaining the movement of goods between the EU27 and the UK and guaranteeing the mutual respect of high standards and regulations. Market disruption must be avoided, particularly through imports of goods that would not be subject to the same production standards. This would have a negative impact on farmers’ incomes, on the UK and on consumers.”
Joe Healy acknowledged the solidarity of French farmers, who have stood with Irish farmers at critical times during our membership of the EU. “FNSEA has always identified with our aim of preserving the European family farm model and we have worked together through various CAP reforms to secure strong support for farming and food.
Christiane Lambert said the FNSEA has conveyed in clear terms to the French Government that it must remain firmly with the EU position.
The IFA President said the Irish Government must remain vigilant in the coming days to ensure that the EU position remains steadfast as the endgame approaches.