UK Farming's Relationship with the EU - NFU report

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With the debate over whether we should be in or out of Europe hotting up ahead of a planned referendum, the NFU has published its report to consider the UK farming industry’s current relationship with the European Union.

NFU President Meurig Raymond_275_213

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The NFU has not taken a “better in” or “better out” position ahead of the conclusion of the Government’s renegotiation talks. At this stage in the debate, we simply can’t. We don’t know what changes the Prime Minister will make with respect to our current relationship and nor do we know the type of relationship our farmers would face if the country votes to leave the EU. Given these uncertainties, it is impossible for the NFU to evaluate the true impact on our sector at this stage of the debate.


“But what we can do is to provide our members with insights and answers to explain our current relationship with the EU. And crucially we can call on those on both sides of the debate to give answers to the vital questions on our future relationship. That’s exactly what I hope this new report from the NFU will do.

EU Report, page 19_600_302

“Up and down the country, farmers are asking the questions we want decision makers to answer, such as ‘If we left the EU, would we have access to the European market?’ - The EU is the world’s biggest agricultural trader and for some sectors like lamb, it’s vital. Other questions include “What would a British version of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) look like?” or “How would the Government guarantee fair competition for our farmers and a level playing field on which to compete?”

“And for those who advocate that we remain within the EU, “what are they doing to make sure that European decision makers place agriculture at the forefront of global competitiveness”. Or that EU better regulation and simplification initiatives deliver meaningful, tangible results on the ground.

“These and other key questions need to be answered. The NFU intends to continue the conversation with its members and will lead the way in promoting the interests of British farmers throughout the national debate. I hope everyone will get involved and that the NFU’s report will help inform debates and discussions on this crucial issue for our sector.”

EU Report, page 7_600_258

EU report, page 7_600_185

The views expressed by the authors of the comments below are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NFU.

  • Posted by: Gary SchofieldPosted on: 30/09/2015 19:29:38

    Comment: Norway doesn't pay a penny into the EU Budget. It pays a small sum into various EU projects. Norway has great deal of input with regard to EU laws, as it sits in on discussions before they become law. Norway can reject any Regulation/Directive it chooses, and it only has to consider those relating to the Single Market. Norway has 100% control over all other legislation. You need to check your facts.
  • Posted by: Ann ElizabethPosted on: 03/01/2016 10:44:06

    Comment: If government created 'temporary work packages' for the domestic workforce which gave workers near permanent work for the year so that more British workers would be interested in taking the work up would the NFU encourage that? eg if seasonal work in different UK industries was co-ordinated by job centres and offered as a pakage to unemployed people?
  • Posted by: Gerard FoxPosted on: 07/01/2016 09:37:42

    Comment: Norway has zero influence as it has no vote. It spends much of its time along with other EEA/EFTA countries lobbying Britain to act on its behalf & in concert within the EU. It has to comply with single market rules including Schengen. EEA/EFTA contributions to the EU budget are treated as additional to it, but they are nevertheless contributions. It is a matter of semantics. They pay & they have been asked to pay more. The point raised above of continued contribution without influence remains basically valid. That contribution may be a bit lower, but it comes at a cost.
  • Posted by: David JacobsPosted on: 15/01/2016 08:15:39

    Comment: The key word here is influence. Norway may not have influence over the EU, but the reverse is also true. The question really is how much influence does the UK have over the EU at the moment anyway
  • Posted by: L. TathamPosted on: 16/01/2016 12:26:29

    Comment: Norway is a good example of a cost to us to access this market with no influence on its procedures should we leave the EU.
    Without a plan B from Defra I feel I would be voting blind.
  • Posted by: Lord Willoughby De BrokePosted on: 06/02/2016 12:42:03

    Comment: I find it hard to believe that the NFU appears to believe that it is in British farmers' interest to stay in the EU and remain subject to the whims of the European Parliament and the Commission.
    Let's take it from the top;
    Electronic tagging
    Fallen Stock Directive
    Herbicide withdrawals without scientific basis
    Suspension of neonicotinoids ditto
    Fear of GMOs ditto
    Shambles of implementing new BPS, still unresolved
    Serious problems with new CSS, which risks undermining the outstanding environmental achievements of British farmers over the last 20 years

    According to the RPA's own website British farmers get under £2 billion p.a. from the CAP. The UK's gross contribution to the EU is £20 billion. It is vanishingly unlikely that any British government would withdraw support from British farmers.
    The CAP is an expensive exercise in central bureaucracy; we need a British Agricultural Policy not Common Agricultural policy.
  • Posted by: Karen telling Posted on: 24/02/2016 07:40:30

    Comment: We're in the EU now and UK farming is disintegrating, look at current prices, particularly dairy. How many dairy farmers will be forced to pack up this year? I know the Government don't appear to have a plan b but being in the EU doesn't seem to be working too well so let's get out and rebuild our ailing farming industry before we're completely engulfed by the lumbering EU, it's bureaucracy and corruption. If the people of this country want to eat something needs to be done to give us food security, the government need to find plan b!
  • Posted by: Sam101Posted on: 29/02/2016 08:47:01

    Comment: The U.K. puts 6 million into CAP, but U.K farmers only get 3 million back. U.K. Farmers are basically subsidising French farmers. The government (not that they will!) could double farming subsidies without spending more than they do now, in the face of Brexit. Less red tape would mean more competitiveness and fear mongering about no access to the free market is just swings both ways if we have no access then Europe has no access to us. Which, logically, would mean that UK farmers would be responsible for supplying the U.K's entire population until independant trade agreements could be made globally.
  • Posted by: Oliver DowdingPosted on: 12/04/2016 18:03:27

    Comment: Plenty of gung-ho people here who dream that we'll be better off in our businesses outside the EU. Presumably that is thought to be for more than just the next 2 or 5 or 10 or 30 years? I recommend reading some of theses points. The exit camp are fed up with what they think the EU is and does. They are ready to consign us to exit with a minimal idea of plan, which isn't costed, for them or the nation.
  • Posted by: Edward JonesPosted on: 15/04/2016 14:07:47

    Comment: I am in favour of Brexit.
    The foremost reason to me for this is the continual erosion of our sovereignty by unelected members of an EU bureaucratic team. And I do not trust these unelected people to stand by their word regarding Mr. Camerons so called agreement.

    We are supposed to have an economy that is 20% of the total EU economy. If the UK leaves that will mean we will have an economy that is 25% of the remaining 27 nations EU economy. The resultant EU economy will no longer be the worlds largest economy (no wonder they don't want us to leave) and they cannot ignore a neighbouring economy 25% the size of their own.

    Both the European Union and The United Kingdom are members of The World Trade Organisation (WTO) which sets the rules of trade around the world. The EU has to work to WTO rules as does the UK so I consider a great deal of scaremongering is being put about by EU sympathisers.

    Additionally, will other countries have to leave the EU within the next few years. Greece looks like it will have to 'Grexit' when its money next runs out? The same question can be asked of several other countries. Will the EU still be an economic entity in ten years time and if notwill we have got out in time

    I want us to work in harmony with our neighbours trading freely, assisting each other with cross border problems but that we can do what we feel is right for UK people.

  • Posted by: T HurstPosted on: 16/04/2016 09:34:18

    Comment: This particular government will say anything to Remain, of course, they dont have a plan B because they dont want to acknowledge they might need one. I am amazed that farmers dont welcome the chance to export all of our produce anywhere in the world again instead of the insular eu market. Plus. what we pay the EU going back into the UK farming instead of constantly propping up poorer european states of which there will be more in the future.
  • Posted by: DavidPosted on: 18/04/2016 21:26:12

    Comment: I have to admire the chutzpah of a Mr Dowding putting forward a biased site infacts. If you want to check facts please use fullfacts or bbc or balance the guardian against the telegraph. From the government leaflet to the treasury report this government and the remain campaign will say anything to scare us into staying in the EU. The CAP is designed for French and Italian farmers. It was set in stone before we joined and we have been paying for it ever since.
  • Posted by: Piers AustinPosted on: 29/04/2016 12:47:00

    Comment: The Norway figure of £106 per person vs our £153 now is misleading as the population of Norway is smaller so their trade membership fees divided by a lower number will obviously give a greater figure 'per head'.
  • Posted by: Beverley NashPosted on: 16/05/2016 19:32:42

    Comment: GREENLAND LEFT THE EU IN 1985 - and now has a standard of living higher than the UK
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