The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the French farmers’ union FNSEA held a bilateral meeting in Dublin yesterday, ahead of this week’s vital Brexit votes in London.
The two associations both strongly support the EU27 position on Brexit, but want to see a deal that does the least possible damage to Irish and French farmers.
IFA President Joe Healy and the President of FNSEA Christiane Lambert agreed that safeguarding the integrity of the EU Single Market and Customs Union is an essential element of any outcome.
“A ‘no deal’ would be very detrimental to Irish & French farmers, but the EU must remain firm on the Withdrawal Agreement. After all, this was agreed with the EU by the UK Government,” the two Presidents stated.
“But, if we end up in a ‘no deal’ scenario, we expect the Commission to stand by their commitment to support European farmers in the strongest possible way.”
The two Presidents also acknowledged the steadfast position of EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the solidarity of the other Member States.
“IFA & FNSEA share the dual objective of maintaining the movement of goods between the EU27 and the UK and guaranteeing the mutual respect of high standards and regulations,” they said.
“Market disruption must be avoided, particularly through imports of goods that would not be subject to the same production standards. This would have a negative impact on farmers’ incomes, on the UK and on consumers.”
Healy also praised the solidarity of French farmers, who have stood with Irish farmers through critical times.
“FNSEA has always identified with our aim of preserving the European family farm model,” Healy added, “and we have worked together through various CAP reforms to secure strong support for farming and food.”