EU Commissioner challenged by MacManus on Beef and Lamb imports
Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP, today questioned the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski on the need for market interventions including the suspension of imports of beef and lamb to maintain prices.
The MEP for Midlands Northwest, called for the urgent need for market intervention, highlighting the dire situation faced by beef and lamb farmers in Ireland already facing financial ruin due to low prices.
Speaking after the committee meeting on the agricultural response to Covid-19, Chris MacManus said, “The Commissioner agreed that the need for market intervention was obvious but claimed that his hands are tied by the lack of money in the budget.
“It is not good enough for the Commission at a time of crisis to simply say that they do not have the financial resources to act.
“Sinn Fein have proposed to the EU Commission to engage with trade partners to suspend imports of beef and lamb. This does not require substantial financial resources and would have the immediate impact of removing beef and lamb from an over supplied market.
“The Commissioner began his address to the agriculture committee by stating the coronavirus has shown the need to shorten supply chains and reduce the distance between farm and fork. But this sentiment is hollow when the Commissioner refuses to consider the practical steps that could be taken.
The Commissioner cannot claim to be powerless to act due to a lack of funds in the budget and at the same time refuse to engage in a meaningful discussion about the possibility of reviewing Tariff rate quotas with an aim to suspending imports of beef and lamb from around the world entering the EU.
“This represents a means of market intervention to reduce supply that does not require financial resources. The Commission has shown no willingness to look beyond the inadequate market intervention tools that are used to respond to normal market volatility and were never designed to be of use in the face of such a global crisis”.