Fine Gael selling out farmers on Canadian Trade Deal – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has criticised a move by Fine Gael’s group in the European Parliament to block a proposal that the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee would set out a formal opinion on the EU’s proposed trade deal with Canada, known as CETA.
“Earlier this month, my European political group GUE/NGL put forward a proposal for the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee to give a formal Opinion on the ratification of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Investment Agreement (CETA) on issues related to agriculture. This week that move was roundly blocked by a coalition of conservative parties, lead by the European People’s Party (EPP), of which Fine Gael is a member.
“Considering the massive impact this deal could have on the agricultural sector, this move will be huge cause for concern for many farmers. CETA will allow 50,000 tonnes of Canadian beef to enter the EU market, much of it will undoubtedly displace Irish exports.
“This deal was negotiated entirely behind closed doors and the first chance farmers had to see how this deal would affect them was when the final agreed text was published in 2015. This means that at no point have farmers had the chance to formally put forward their views on how this deal will affect their trade and markets and most importantly the price they receive for the produce.
“Over the last few months, I have engaged in countless debates on the impact of this new generation of trade deals on the farming community. The TTIP and Mercosur deals have been forefront in farmers minds but CETA is undoubtedly intended to be the first step on a very dangerous road. Throughout our debates Fine Gael have always implied that they will protect farmers’ interests and that they would never agree to a deal that was bad for Irish Agriculture. However, now that the text has been published Fine Gael’s group in the European Parliament has prevented the Agricultural committee from conducting its own analysis of what this will mean for European farmers.
“Coupled with the stated position of Minister Mitchell O’Connor that she intends to support the provisional ratification of the deal (that is implementing it before national parliaments have voted on it), farmers can clearly see that Fine Gael are ready to sell them out.
“Fine Gael have consistently refused to engage on the issues pertaining to the dangerous EU trade agenda. This move is but the latest example of that.”