European farmers have been “stabbed in the back” by “power brokers” in Brussels that last night agreed to significantly increase EU beef import volumes from the Mercosur bloc under a controversial new deal, the Beef Plan Movement has stated.

In order to “strike a balance” on the long-awaited and much-disputed agreement between the sides, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said the volume of imports of preferential rates of beef will be increased by 99,000t over a five year period.

While the commission last night, Friday, June 28, stated that it “stands ready” to assist European farmers in the event of “any major disturbance” with a support package ready of up to €1 billion, Irish beef farmers are kicking back across the country.

In a statement to AgriLand, Hugh Doyle, co-founder of the Beef Plan Movement said: “The power brokers of Europe that run the EU Commission have reneged on their responsibility to look after the environment in an honest and fair manner.

How can they stand behind an agreement with a country that allows the cutting down of rainforests to make room for agriculture – and then ship that meat half way around the world to Europe in lieu of selling more cars into south America?

“The farmers of Europe have been stabbed in the back, yet again.

“Words like ‘traceability’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘custodians of the environment’ have been thrown out and replaced with words like ‘money’, ‘greed’ and ‘shady deals’,” he said.

The Beef Plan Movement is now calling on all farm organisations, and rural dwellers, to “come out once and for all” and show solidarity with the agricultural sector at a protest outside Leinster House next Wednesday, July 10.

“We need to show the world that Ireland won’t be sold out,” he said.