IFA President Eddie Downey said the outcome of the European election results has to lead to a fundamental re-think by the European institutions and public servants on how Europe works for people, and especially the negative impact of interference in people’s lives and businesses through EU regulation, which is often unnecessary, impractical and unreasonable.

In the case of farming, we have a raft of regulations and inspections that in the minds of most hard-working farmers is over the top and needs to be addressed. For example, the tillage sector finds itself in the ludicrous situation of having to deal with excessive greening restrictions as a result of the latest CAP Reform, and land designations will continue to have a very negative impact on low-income farmers.

Eddie Downey said: “The strong message across Europe is that voters are unhappy with the way in which decision-makers in Brussels are failing to listen to their concerns. The European institutions, civil servants and politicians have to react swiftly to the realities of what European citizens are trying to cope with. The next European Parliament should have a much greater level of influence. I hope the extremes of left and right do not paralyse the Parliament’s decision-making process.”

He said farmers want to see reduced bureaucracy and on-farm inspections as part of the new CAP. “As part of the new Charter of Farmers’ Rights, we want to see an end to duplication, the provision of 14 days’ advance notice and a yellow-card system. The new Parliament will have to take a determined stand against any damaging trade deal that the Commission may try to slip through.”

Mr Downey said on a wider level, the impact of austerity will have to be addressed. “Our economic recovery is not happening quickly enough and the imposition of draconian taxes and charges is hitting households hard. The deficit reduction targets will have to be more flexible to allow growth to return to economies such as Ireland’s. Europe has to do more to assist our recovery.”