Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, has called on the Irish Government to immediately inform the European Commission that it will not support the EU trade deal with South American, Mercosur, countries and demand that negotiations are stopped in their tracks.
Carthy noted that Irish farmers have been betrayed by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan on this deal and that any further posturing on the part of the Irish Government will simply exacerbate that betrayal.
Matt Carthy said:
“Recently at an in-camera hearing of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee we were told by a representative of the commission that ‘without the beef quota offer there will be no deal on Mercosur’.
“The Irish Government must therefore now respond emphatically – ‘No Deal!’. They must do so now.
“The message from farmers is loud and clear. Any agreement with Mercosur that includes offers for sensitive products such as beef and poultry cannot be tolerated.
“Commissioner Hogan has clearly betrayed these concerned farmers.
“Toying with one of the most vulnerable sectors in Ireland at the moment in this manner shows the absolute failure of the commissioner. Just last year plans to allow 78,000tn of Mercosur beef into the EU annually were scrapped because they were deemed to be too sensitive. Now, just over a year later this figure has barely been revised.
“It is now abundantly clear to farmers that Commissioner Hogan’s claims last May, that beef was “off the menu” in these talks, were lies.
“The latest offer shows that the European Commission is resolved to sacrifice agriculture in order to gain improved access to South American countries for the German car and pharmaceutical industries.
“It is less than 6 months since investigations uncovered schemes of bribing inspectors to keep rotten beef and poultry on the Brazilian market. Now there are plans to add to the existing 65,000 tonnes of beef agreed in the CETA deal with Canada, by a further 70,000 tonnes from Mercosur countries.
“There is no silver lining for Irish farmers in this agreement. Offers on poultry are rumoured to be up to around 78,000 tonnes, which will have the same effect in terms of depressing prices, reducing quality and driving small farmers out of the market.
“Commissioner Hogan’s betrayal will only be exacerbated unless the Irish government immediately demand that the Mercosur talks are halted.
The dangerous attitude of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael representatives regarding the Canadian CETA deal proves to farmers that these parties cannot be trusted to protect their interests at the end of negotiations.
Therefore the government must demand that the Mercosur deal is stopped in its tracks now.