‘Government must put national interest above party politics’ – Macra

The government is being called on to “put the national interest above party politics” in selecting nominees to replace former EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan.

Responding to Hogan’s resignation, Macra na Feirme paid tribute to the former commissioner, with the organisation’s president, Thomas Duffy, saying: “The commissioner was always open to proposals from Macra na Feirme and our representatives [in Europe].

“He delivered for young farmers when previous reforms failed, and he and his team can be proud of those achievements,” Duffy added.

He argued that, “despite the difficulties of the past week, history will reflect kindly on the achievements of Commissioner Hogan and especially how he put generational renewal, young farmers, and the next generation of farmers to the core of the next CAP [Common Agricultural Policy]”.

On who should succeed Hogan, Duffy highlighted: “There is no doubt that [having] Hogan at the reins in the trade portfolio was one of those crucial roles at a time when Brexit and nationalist trade sentiment in many countries around the world are significant challenges.

“The government must guarantee that President von der Leyen has two excellent candidates to choose from with the experience, reputation, network, and skillset to maintain the trade portfolio,” the Macra president stressed.

“Macra na Feirme looks forward to working with the next [Irish] commissioner to bring his or her influence on the commission to ensure that trade deals do not disadvantage Irish farmers and that terms of deals protecting Irish farmers are enforced.

“We will continue to work with the current agriculture commissioner [Janusz Wojciechowski] to ensure there is no backsliding on commitments to young farmers in the current CAP and that young farmer initiatives at member state level are sufficiently funded,” Duffy concluded.

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