In an initial reaction to the UK governments’ decision to trigger Article 50 to launch Brexit proceedings with the European Union, Copa and Cogeca outlined in Brussels today key concerns on the impact of it on EU farmers and agri-cooperatives.
Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “We regret the UK’s decision to launch Brexit proceedings. With this decision of the UK government, we believe that farmers and agri-businesses on both sides will be hit hard. Consumers too who have up until now enjoyed a good choice of quality produce from across the EU will feel the impact ”.
The UK is a net importer of agri-food products, worth 57 billion euros, and it is well integrated into the Single Market. At the same time, 60% of UK agri-food exports (beef, lamb, poultry, dairy, cereals) worth £11 billion to the UK economy go to the EU. The UK is also a net contributor to the EU budget.
“Copa and Cogeca consequently have serious concerns about the potential trade and budget impact of Brexit on European farmers and their cooperatives. We believe that farmers and their families shouldn’t have to pay the price of Brexit. We expect the UK government to honour its’ commitments in the current EU budget framework and also programmes that it subscribed to which go beyond 2020”, he said.
Ways to maintain the current budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which actually costs less than 1% of EU government’s total public expenditure and in return ensures quality food supplies for 500 million consumers and maintains biodiversity, growth and jobs, must be found. Any disruption to agricultural trade should also be avoided. Otherwise, farmers and their cooperatives will end up by paying twice for Brexit, both from a budget and trade perspective. This could have a bad impact on the whole EU economy, growth and jobs, he concluded. Copa & Cogeca will continue to assess the situation closely.