Proposed EU Brexit Fund A Welcome Development. – ICMSA.

Responding to the announcement today (Friday, 10 July) by the President of the European Council in relation to Covid-19 Recovery Fund, the President of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack said ICMSA welcomed the inclusion of a proposed €5billion Brexit Reserve Fund which is absolutely essential in the context of the next Brexit deadline at the end of 2020.

 While negotiations are ongoing in relation to a free trade agreement between the EU and UK, there is a huge level uncertainty in relation to the outcome and indeed the impact on specific sectors whether an agreement is concluded or not.   It has long been recognised, Mr. McCormack said, that the Irish Agri-food sector remains particularly exposed with the primary producer likely to take the biggest brunt, so it is absolutely essential the proposed Brexit reserve is available as required, is flexible in terms of the measures it can take and that it addresses the specific losses of primary producers should they occur.   Beef farmers in particular in the second half of 2019 suffered considerable losses which have continued into 2020 while dairy farmers have seen a particular hit in 2020 due to Covid-19 and they simply cannot continue to bear the brunt of these losses.   Brexit is completely outside the control of farmers, the Brexit Reserve proposal is a step in the right direction but it must be able to respond speedily and effectively in relation to Brexit specific losses.

 In terms of the MFF budget, Mr. McCormack said, that the EU Heads of State meeting next week will be the first and a critical test of the new Government in the context of supporting the farming community.   The current MFF proposals mean that farmers will suffer a cut in support payments post 2020 which is simply unacceptable and ICMSA’s position is clear, our Government simply cannot support any MFF proposal that results in a loss in support payments for the farming community, concluded Mr. McCormack.

 ENDS       10 July 20202

Pat McCormack is at (087) 7608958.

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ICMSA Head Office: (061) 314677.