The European Commission must stitch in as many legal and other protections as possible for farmers in the final text of the Mercosur agreement, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.
He said no effort should to be spared in protecting Irish and European beef producers to the maximum possible extent from the potential negative impacts of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.
Speaking at Monday’s Agrifish Council in Brussels, Minister Creed again highlighted the potentially damaging impact of the EU-Mercosur agreement on a delicately balanced EU beef market that is further overshadowed by the threat of Brexit.
“EU and Irish beef producers have demonstrated that they do not fear free trade agreements, but they also want to see fair trade agreements.
“I have highlighted our concerns on many occasions about the potential impact of a Mercosur agreement, and I continue to harbour such concerns following the recent political agreement, which provides additional access to the EU beef market at a time when incomes are under extreme pressure in the sector," he said.
I continue to harbour such concerns following the recent political agreement
“I believe it is therefore essential that the Commission uses the period ahead to stitch-in as many legal and other protections as possible in areas such as food safety and animal welfare standards, quota segmentation and sustainability commitments.”
During a debate on the proposed new “green architecture” for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), Minister Creed said the increased environmental actions “must all be simple to operate, and member states must have sufficient flexibility to ensure their effectiveness”.
He also emphasised the need to maintain the CAP budget in order to support the increased environmental ambition for the CAP.