13 Oct 2017


Brussels, IFA in Brussels

Find out what IFA has been working on in Brussels this week.

The Agriculture Council Meeting in Luxembourg resulted in renewed objections to Mercosur led by France and Ireland (plus 7 others) supporting sensitive sectors such as beef and ethanol. IFA plus some Irish MEPs joined NFU at an ECPA event to support the renewal of Glyphosate. Like Mercosur negotiations it is entering a very political phase. IFA raised the issue of continued price increases on fertilisers by YARA with the head of Fertilizers Europe, meanwhile the anti-dumping investigation is continuing with IFA and the other applicants seeking a hearing with DG Trade.

Agriculture Council Meeting

Despite Irish Agriculture Minister’s protests (represented on this occasion by Minister Andrew Doyle) it appears that further strong political pressure against Mercosur will need to be brought to defend the sensitive beef sector. President Joe Healy has already been in contact with several Associations some of whom however are from countries where Governments are in fact supportive of a strong Mercosur deal.

Commissioner Hogan highlighted the need to shift the accumulated stocks of SMP in storage. Latest stocks in storage amount to 380,000t with only 140t being sold out of intervention one year following the opening of sales by tender.

Omnibus Regulation

Agreement was reached in Trilogues discussions this week on the agriculture related matters of the Omnibus Regulation. This will go before Plenary and to Council in time for implementation on January 1st 2018.

Oilseeds & Cereals Working Groups

Liam Dunne, National Grains Committee Chairman and Fintan Conway attended the meetings at COPA. The UK oilseed harvest was up vs 2016 but across Italy and Spain extensive drought conditions had affected yields despite increase in surface areas.

Civil Society Dialogue on Mercosur Sustainability Impact Assessment

The Commission presented the methodology for this report due to be completed by the end of the year outlining overall impacts of a Mercosur Trade Deal on land use, ecosystems biodiversity and environmental goods and services. IFA pointed out that the accelerated time line for current negotiations might not allow for consideration of this report and that the damage to the livestock sector in Europe would be unsustainable if the current publicised figure of 70,000t of beef TRQ were part of any deal. More info here

Glyphosate Renewal

Irish MEPs Mairead McGuinness, Matt Carthy and Sean Kelly attended an event organised by the European Crop Protection Association and also attended by the NFU and 5 UK MEPs. The IFA was represented by Liam Dunne, Fintan Conway and Liam MacHale.  Liam Dunne impressed upon the attendees the critical need to Irish Agriculture for the renewal of Glyphosate and strongly supporting the existing scientific evidence.

Animal Health Europe ‘One Health’ Conference

The 30 year old organisation International Federation for Animal Health Europe (IFAH) which relaunched as Animal Health Europe was addressed by Health Commissioner Andriukaitis. The Commission said that the pharmaceutical industry is investing less in animal health and discussed efforts to combat Avian Flu, Lumpy Skin Disease having successfully eradicated rabies in the EU.  Professor Patrick Wall said an over emphasis on risk communication had generated fear in consumers particularly over large scale agriculture production.

Up next

  • DG Research Conference: Food 2030 “Harnessing Research & Innovation” on Mon 16th
  • COPA Dairy Working Party on Mon 16th
  • EU Commission Beef Forecast Group on Beef on Monday 16th
  • General Affairs Council (Article 50) Council Tues 17th
  • COPA International Aspects Working Party on Tues 17th  attended by Angus Woods
  • Civil Dialogue Group on International Aspects Wed 18th attended by Angus woods
  • IFA National Dairy Committee Representatives led by Sean O’Leary National Dairy Committee Chairman will attend meetings with Irish MEPs in the European Parliament, with the European Commission and other Farming Associations on 17-19th Oct
  • European Council 19th-20th Oct
  • More information here and here


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