With the EU ‘In or Out’ debate in full swing, NFU economist, Lucia Zitti, highlights some of the questions that farmers should now be asking.
In or out of Europe? It’s a question which will be asked with increasing frequency. And for farmers, the question has added significance. What are the advantages and disadvantages of our current relationship with the European Union? As the farming industry prepares for a government-led referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, the NFU is addressing the detail behind both sides of the debate.
While many people have an instinctive response to the question, it is impossible to measure the true impact of being outside of the EU. The NFU has not taken a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ stance on Europe ahead of the conclusion of the UK’s renegotiation of its relationship with Europe.
So far no-one has explained what the nature of the UK’s relationship with the EU would be if we were to leave. Neither do we know the conditions under which farmers would be expected to operate. A number of trade models with Europe already exist – such as the European Free Trade Agreement and European Economic Area – but none cover the agriculture sector.
In the midst of so many unknowns, the NFU’s team of experts has explored our industry’s current relationship with the EU and the big issues which need answers. Our new report “UK Farming’s Relationship with the EU” is not designed to answer all of those questions, but as the debate evolves in the run up to the referendum, we will push politicians to answer those that are vital to our industry.
The NFU has set out the way in which UK farming’s relationship could be improved and we will continue to promote the interests of British farmers throughout the in-out debate. Help us to press for clarity by asking the questions below to those on both sides.