Farmers have been urged to take immediate action to make their opposition to the Mercosur trade deal known and to step up efforts to get this deal blocked. This call was made by Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East, speaking to farmers in Brussels today.
Aylward stated that fresh from high-level meetings with Brazilian officials and diplomats as part of the European Parliament Mercosur Delegation in Brazil stated that it was made clear to him that there is significant will and commitment there from the Mercosur side and the EU side to come forward with a substantial deal as early as next month.
In his speech the Kikenny native stressed: “There is a sense of urgency about these talks and it is clear that in December lucrative offers will be made. The motivating factor is to get the offers in and the deal done before the EU concludes a trade agreement with the USA.”
He went on to say: “This issue has been off the table in the European Parliament and in agricultural circles for months as the focus was on carrying the CAP reform over the line. As a Member of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development I am appalled that so much progress can be made on a deal, which will be detrimental to Irish agriculture, with no red flags having been raised in months. No discussions with MEPs have been held and key decisions are being made behind closed doors.”
The Ireland East MEP pointed out that he expected support from the EU Trade Commission to be limited. He said: “One thing is clear; the EU Trade Commissioner will not have the concerns of the Irish beef sector in mind when he is looking at these offers. We cannot trust those looking after the wider EU trade interests not to sacrifice agriculture and farmers for other gains.”
Aylward reminded farmers that the European Commission’s own Impact Assessment concluded that European farmers and agriculture will experience heavy losses under a Mercosur Trade deal. Yet the Commission is committed to sacrificing them in the interest of manufacturing gains.
He said: “The Commission state that the gains made in the manufacturing sector would outweigh the losses to the EU agri-food sector. However, it is estimated that 33,000 EU farm jobs could be lost due to the immediate and knock on effects of this deal.”
“I have highlighted before that the there is no quantifiable way of measuring the impact the Mercosur Trade deal would have on rural communities in Ireland. It would be devastating for the beef sector and for Irish agriculture as a whole,” he added.
He went on to say that he believes complacency has set in. He said: “must be quickly overcome and we must wake up to the real threat at our doorstep. There is no doubt in my mind that this trade deal could single-handily undo all the success and progress of Irish agriculture and the beef export sector in particular and would cause immeasurable damage for years to come.”
“It is essential that the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister for Trade wake up to the implications of this proposed deal and start raising their objections loudly and forcefully with their EU counterparts or else this deal will be steamrollered through.”