Leading farming representatives have highlighted to the European Commission this week that an uneven trade deal with the Mercosur trading bloc would disrupt the EU market and lead to increased price volatility.

Midlands-North-West European candidate Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP has expressed strong concern that Irish beef farmers would be hit hardest in an uneven and rushed trade deal with countries such as Brazil.

Mr Gallagher said today, “It is essential that Ireland sends MEPs to Brussels who understand what is at stake for Irish farmers and will fight for their interests in the Mercosur trade negotiations.  Farmers have voiced their concerns and the Commission’s own impact study found that European agriculture would suffer, yet the Commission is determined to reach a deal at all costs with the South American countries.

The Mercosur bloc is due to finalise their joint proposal for tariff cuts by the end of May with the aim of exchanging proposals with the EU shortly after.  Given the timeframe here and the particular intention of the Commission’s President Barroso to reach a deal before the end of his mandate, the role of the European Parliament will be crucial according to Gallagher.

Mr Gallagher concluded, “This trade deal could devastate European agriculture and the Irish beef sector in particular.  The Commission seems determined to sacrifice farmers for manufacturing gains.  It is estimated that 33,000 farm jobs could be lost across the EU due to the immediate and knock on effects of this deal. It is my aim to fight for Irish farmers and their interests in this trade deal and ensure that the Mercosur trade deal is not rushed through without consideration for farmers and rural communities.”