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