Tipperary Farming : Taoiseach urged to talk Mercosur on Paris visit

Ireland and France 'strong allies' on farming issues

IFA President Joe Healy

IFA President Joe Healy

This week's visit of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to France was an ideal opportunity to discuss agricultural matters, says the IFA.

IFA President Joe Healy said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s first visit to France on Tuesday of this week, to meet President Emmanuel Macron, was an opportunity to discuss the Mercosur negotiations and strongly support the tough stance taken by President Macron.

Joe Healy said, “One of the aims of this visit is to improve bilateral relations with the French. The threat posed by the Mercosur deal to EU agriculture and especially the beef sector should be to the forefront of the discussions between the Taoiseach and President Macron”.

The IFA President said France has always been a strong ally of Ireland’s on farming issues and the Taoiseach should build on this historical alliance to send a strong message to the EU Commission that Mercosur would be very damaging for our single largest farm sector.

Last week, the French President insisted that the negotiations would be discussed at the EU Summit, at which he warned against rushing into a deal with the South American countries, including Brazil.

Joe Healy said, “The beef sector in Ireland is more important to our national economy than any other member state. The Taoiseach has recently raised the danger for Irish beef farmers in the event of a Mercosur deal with the Commission President Jean Claude Junckner, and we expect him to keep our concerns to the forefront at EU level.

“There is a huge gulf between high production standards involved in EU beef production and the failure on standards that apply to imports from countries like Brazil and other South American states. It is completely unacceptable that the EU Commission continues to accept this policy of double standards when it comes to imports.”

Earlier this month IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Angus Woods and IFA President Joe Healy led a protest at the European Commission Offices in Dublin over proposals to increase beef and poultry access for Mercosur countries.

IFA President Joe Healy said Taoiseach Varadkar must strongly support the tough stance taken by the French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron on Mercosur. The French Prime Minister has warned against rushing into a deal with the South American countries, including Brazil, which would damage EU agriculture and especially the beef sector.