Speaking from Brussels, IFA President Joe Healy accused the seven Prime Ministers who signed a letter to Jean Claude Juncker backing a trade deal with South American countries of making a mockery of European farmers and the world class standards they operate to.
“It is astounding to see leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel and the Netherlands Mark Rutte referring to health, environmental and labour standards, while at the same time calling on the EU to
do a deal that would result in more substandard beef coming from Brazil at the expense of that country’s rain forests,” he said.
This is breathktaking hypocrisy from the seven signatories who want a deal with President Bolsonaro from Brazil and other South American countries to suit their own economies, while conveniently ignoring the truth about Brazil.
“Either standards matter, or they don’t. What we have here is a decision to throw an entire sector under the bus in the blind pursuit of a deal. The Prime Ministers should be ashamed of their sell-out of EU values,” he said.
Joe Healy and the Livestock Chairman Angus Woods met the chef de Cabinet DG Trade in Brussels today, where they set out IFA’s outright opposition to any deal and the reasons why, including animal welfare and traceability; pesticides; deforestation; climate change as well as the uncertainty of Brexit, over supplying the EU and low farm incomes across the EU. Those issues were also highlighted in the strong communication by the European farm organisation COPA opposing the deal.
In a separate communication to the Commission, some 340 NGOs from across Europe have said the deal should be abandoned.
“Despite this, the seven signatories are intent on rolling over and giving the Brazilian Prime Minister Balsonaro a blank cheque to continue destroying the environment,” he said.
“This is the ultimate test of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who must waste no time in building opposition to this at EU Council level. “How could he possibly stand over this deal, in a week where the Government published the Climate Action Plan for this country.”
EU Commission reports consistently prove that South American beef imports, especially imports from Brazil, fail to meet EU standards on traceability, food safety, animal health, environmental and labour law. “The EU FVO report of May 2017 highlighted that the Brazilian competent authority is not in a position to guarantee that the relevant export requirements are met.”