EDITOR – Having served our purpose as the EU’s thorn in the side of the UK over Brexit, the signs are that our insignificant position as a mere 1% of its membership population is becoming a painful reality.
In your edition of February 20th, Rose O’Donovan reported from Brussels that a) there was unrest in mainland Europe on the prospects of the Mercosur ‘deal’ which b) is the fulfilment of an EU ‘political agreement’ of Jun 28th 2020.
To add salt to the wound, she further told us that Brussels Big Brother is scaling back on promoting beef, on the pretext they think it’s bad for us.
All this hard on the heels of the fishing dilemma that is devastating that industry.
For the uninitiated, Mercosur is seemingly a trade arrangement involving the EU and four South American countries, the largest being Brazil.
If I can resort to cynicism, the deal is being pushed through, it says, ASAP by the current president of the committee concerned.
Now, he’s Portuguese and his country has strong trade links to Brazil, a former Portuguese colony, hence the rush. Where, one might ask, were MEPs Kelleher and Clune while all this was in its infancy?
So that we can retain our seat at this illustrious EU table, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, tells me on March 1st that our gross contribution to it will be €600 per head this year, rising to €800 by 2028, some of which we shall recoup as CAP payments etc – if sanctioned by the EU, of course.
I made a respectful enquiry to our Taoiseach as to whether, if this was the year Ireland was considering joining the EU, he’d be recommending it. I (still) await his reply but, in the meantime, his assistant is the target for a worried IFA which, per the latest Farming supplement, is to have urgent talks on the issue some nine months after the political agreement.
We’re all affected, farmers or not.