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Lisbon Treaty will give Peter Mandelson more control over Irish Farming – Ferris

27 February, 2008

Sharing the Irish Farmer Associations concern on the future of the Irish beef industry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has noted that the Lisbon Treaty if ratified would significantly increase EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's power to negotiate the future of the industry with no recourse for Irish farmers.

Deputy Ferris said, "I share the concerns of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) regarding EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's move to dilute trade barriers. However the IFA should consider the fact that the Lisbon Treaty will copper-fasten such policies if it comes into being.

"Farmers need to be aware that Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty gives the European Commission 'exclusive competence' over international trade agreements. Article 10 of the Treaty makes 'the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade' a key aim of the EU. Article 188 states that decisions on international trade will be taken by qualified majority vote.

"These are three reasons alone why farmers should consider voting against the Lisbon Treaty in the forthcoming referendum.

"The Lisbon Treaty will empower the European Commission to accelerate its existing approach to international trade, as exampled by Peter Mandelson, regardless of the cost to Irish farmers.

"It will remove the ability of the Irish government to influence the detail of trade negotiations or block there outcome if they are not in our interest.

"In addition Article 9 of the Treaty removes Ireland's right to a European Commissioner for 5 out of every 15 years. This means that when the Commission is discussing the detail of such international trade negotiations there may not even be an Irish voice at the table.

"The IFA is absolutely right to be concerned at the actions of Peter Mandelson at WTO talks, however they should also be concerned with the significant increase in powers he will have if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified." ENDS

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