26 November 2017
Diane Dodds said;
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
“It is extraordinary that a European Commissioner should choose to comment on the internal affairs of a current member state in this particular way. This weekend at our party conference it was made quite clear from our leader that "Northern Ireland's Brexit solution will be the United Kingdom's Brexit solution." We will not allow a situation where Northern Ireland's interests are damaged by the need for customs controls with Great Britain at the behest of the EU or the Republic of Ireland. This would be constitutionally unacceptable and economically catastrophic for the local economy.
Having accepted that all sides are committed to working towards solutions to the border we should now move on to the second phase of the process where the real work on the new relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom can begin.
Meanwhile, I have no doubt that many farmers across Europe will be questioning why the Commissioner’s focus is not on ensuring that the black hole in CAP financing is addressed before the UK departure or more importantly the need for a trade deal which recognises the importance of the UK market for agriculture trade in particular for the ROI.
Germany’s farm association DBV President said earlier this year said; “An open market with the United Kingdom for us should have a high priority in the Brexit Negotitaions”. The reaction on the Commissioner’s own doorstep is the same; The Irish Farmers’ Association President Joe Healy said recently “The UK is an important trading partner for us. 40% of agri-food products go to the UK. That’s worth about €5billion alone. We export 90% of our beef, with half of that going to the UK.” He is also reported to say that he does not think Ireland will find a trading partner as lucrative as the UK.
I would urge the Commissioner to consider these comments and suggest that instead of political posturing that we get down to the business of agreeing a trade deal which works for all of the people we represent.”