Ming outlines demands to proposed commission president

In a recent meeting with nominee for the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan set out his key demands for the potential new leader of the commission.

Addressing the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group meeting, von der Leyen spoke about equality for all, the need for work to pay a proper living wage, the challenges facing Europe today and the need for European solidarity to face these challenges.

A statement from Flanagan – who will be appearing on tonight’s episode of FarmLand – noted that “and above all she stressed the need to tackle climate change as an overriding imperative”.

Replying to her, Flanagan said: “Words were fine but it is actions that matter.”

He asked: “Where is the solidarity with Ireland in signing a deal with the Mercosur bloc that will see 99,000t of beef coming into the EU at a time of great uncertainty for our Irish agricultural-based economy?”

He argued this deal was “simply trading off our agricultural industry at EU level to gain access to the South American market for cars and pharmaceutical products”.

With Brexit on the horizon this will result in a double hit to Ireland as not only will we be asking our farmers to compete with inferior products from the Mercosur countries – we could also be facing reduced access to our biggest export market.

Challenging her environmental credentials, MEP Flanagan said: “It was farcical to talk of climate change and in the same breath support the Mercosur deal.

“Our farmers currently produce beef in the most sustainable fashion while delivering a range of public goods that we all enjoy.

We are putting this in jeopardy with this deal, he said, while at the same time contributing to the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest.

Concluding, Flanagan said the rejection of the Mercosur deal in its current form, along with the recognition of the multitude of benefits that farmers in the EU deliver, are his demands of the president if she is successful in her bid to become President of the European Commission.