MEP Matt Carthy has questioned the authenticity of the stated efforts by Minister Michael Creed to properly address the concerns of farmers regarding the ongoing Mercosur trade negotiations between the EU and South American countries.
Rather than sending letters to the European Commission, Mr. Carthy said, the government should now demand that the Mercosur negations are brought to a halt immediately.
Matt Carthy was speaking following the publication of letter from Commissioner Malström to the Minister.
“Rather than sending letters to the European Commission Minister Creed and the Irish Government should be demanding the immediate halt of the Mercosur negotiations knowing as they must that this deal could have devastating implications for Irish agriculture.
“Last October, I attended a meeting of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee where representatives from the European Commission’s trade directorate informed MEPs that there would be no Mercosur deal without a substantial offer in quota for beef and other agricultural product. At that point I asked the government to immediately call for the negotiations to be brought to an end.
“The position set out by the Commissioner responsible for negotiating this agreement in the letter to Minister Creed shows that the Irish Government have not been successful in shifting the commission by timid diplomacy.
“The position of Minister Creed is just not good enough. What I have to ask, and probably what every farmer in Ireland is wondering though, is why won’t the Minister withdraw the Government’s support for Mercosur?
“Commissioner Malström only has a mandate to negotiate the Mercosur trade agreement as far as national Governments delegate her to. The parameters of the negotiating offers are set in European Council meetings attended by Minister Creed and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
“If Fine Gael are serious about their Mercosur concerns then surely the best course of action is to immediately withdraw support for the negotiating mandate in these meetings with the Commissioner and not to be writing letters with the alleged purpose of setting out a position on an issue that is evolving with frightening pace at the moment.
“The information in this letter echoes information I received in my membership of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee over four months ago.
“The inability of the Minister to influence this position as evidenced by this letter shows a massive weakness of the Government where Mercosur is involved and raises concerns as to the authenticity of the Ministers efforts.
“I repeat Sinn Féin’s calls for the Minister to withdraw support for Mercosur immediately and to recognise that Ministerial letters to the Commissioner fall far short of the urgency and importance we should be treating this situation with”.