UK unions reach out to European farmers on Brexit

UK farming unions are reaching out to their counterparts on the continent to seek support in avoiding a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

The presidents of the National Farmers Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru (Wales) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) have jointly written to their counterparts across Europe, stating their “unequivocal” position that a ‘no-deal’ exit would be “economically disastrous”, and that it is in every member state’s interest to prevent this.

On foot of the prime minister’s request for a further extension to Article 50, the UK farm organisations have asked for sufficient time to be granted to establish “a way forward” that recognises the needs of European farming businesses.

For months now, we have been calling for clarity. It is crucial that politicians in the UK and across Europe prioritise the needs of businesses and the welfare and long-term prosperity of the agri-food sector.

Andrew McCornick, president of NFU Scotland, said: “Like all EU farming unions, our organisations represent thousands of farming families, and it is unbelievable and unacceptable that we are still operating without any certainty on a future trading relationship.

“This is having real-world business consequences right now, as well as causing unnecessary stress and huge anxiety for farmers, both at home and across the EU.” he argued.

McCornick added that the UK unions would be “redoubling” their efforts to make the prime minister, Theresa May, clear on the effects that a no-deal Brexit would have for farmers across the continent.

“We know that many farming unions in Europe share many of our views, and we are equally concerned about the impact of Brexit on their own farming sectors,” he said.

Concluding, McCornick urged these European farm bodies to “continue to relay that message” to their own governments and authorities “in the strongest possible manner”.