Speaking in advance of a meeting of the European Milk Board (EMB) in Brussels (Thursday 4th July), the President of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack said, that he will be asking EMB to mount a major EU wide campaign to oppose the Mercusor agreement which if implemented will do irreparable damage to the EU model of farming which is the family farm structure and makes an absolute joke of the EU’s climate change credentials which have been effectively set-aside for big business.
Mr. McCormack said, that the EU and our Government have been scrambling for cover in recent days with so called commitments on climate change from the South Americans and economic assessments which quite honestly, farmers and the wider community do not believe and based on past history are fully justified in not believing. At this stage, I have to say that I am very concerned that our Government will support this agreement to boost the coffers of such industries as financial services at the expense of rural businesses and in particular farmers, and you would have to say, it’s a case that Dublin takes priority again.
The EMB represents mainly dairy farmers across the EU, the vast majority of whom also have a beef enterprise on their farm and do so very sustainably. Like Ireland, all these farmers will suffer severely if Mercusor proceeds and on this basis, I will be calling on EMB to mount an EU wide campaign so that all EU Governments and our MEPS cannot ignore farmer concerns in relation to their financial sustainability and cannot stand over the situation where EU farmers have to meet exacting standards which will increase in the context of climate change and yet are expected to compete with South American product with no such standards. If national and EU politicians think that the Paris accord will be implemented by the South Americans in the context of the Mercusor deal, they are either very naïve, they ignore history or are simply ignoring the facts so that big business can prosper.
EU farmers are fed up at this stage of listening to platitudes from politicians regarding their support for farmers and rural areas. Mercusor, Mr. McCormack said, represents a “senior hurling” decision for our Government and our MEPs. They either reject this deal on the basis that it will severely undermine farmers, rural Ireland and its environmental credentials or they abandon us. The same applies to all EU Governments and I will be asking EMB to mount this campaign as a matter of priority, concluded Mr. McCormack.
ENDS 4 July 2019
Pat McCormack is at (087) 7608958.
ICMSA Head Office: (061) 314677.