Carthy accuses Commission of wanting cheap food policy


Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP, yesterday accused the European Commission of shifting focus towards a cheap food policy

Carthy accuses Commission of wanting cheap food policy

  • ADDED
  • 2 years ago

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP, yesterday accused the European Commission of shifting focus towards a cheap food policy

Speaking from Strasbourg this week, Carthy said this shift of focus is occurring as the EU proceeds with its unpopular trade agenda.

Carthy pointed out numerous implications and said upon examining the Mercosur negotiations that they are stark.

Mr. Carthy continued by referencing the Brazilian Meat scandal, saying that it is obvious the Commission remain in allegiance with Brazilian officials.

He said “The Brazilian meat scandal has made it abundantly clear whose side the European Commission is on in the ongoing Mercosur negotiations - and it isn’t farmers’.

He says even though there has been numerous recent allegations of bribery and corruption within Brazil that the EU commission continue to focus on these negotiations, “At a time when we are still learning of the full extent of bribery, corruption and consumer deceit over meat and poultry imports from Brazil, the European Commission continues to push ahead with free trade talks with the Mercosur trading block.”

Carthy also pointed to the fact that the biggest EU exports to Mercosur include machinery and pharmaceuticals, insinuating that this may be the reason for continued negotiations.

He said “This will come as no surprise when one considers that machinery, vehicles and pharmaceuticals are the biggest EU exports to Mercosur. Lobbyists for the car and pharmaceutical industry are among the most represented and well-funded in Brussels and are always sure to have the ear of the Commissioner for trade Cecilia Malström.’

Carthy also spoke of how EU officials kept a recent debate on Mercosur negotiations private, “This week in Strasbourg I attended a debate on the ongoing EU-Mercosur free trade negotiations in my capacity as a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Although the Commission has gone to great lengths to play up its supposed new commitment to transparency in trade negotiations, this meeting was private, held in camera, contrary to normal meetings of this kind.'

Matt Carthy says when questioned on the topic that the answers he received from Commission officials proved to him that a cheap food policy is on the horizon, which he says devours bigger farmers rather than small ones.

He added “The answers I received from Commission representatives removed any doubt from my mind that what we are witnessing is a move towards a cheap food policy in the EU. Policy changes from Commissioner Hogan favouring big farmers over small, refusals of the Competition authorities to clamp down on market concentration of meat processing, and the unabated stream of free trade deals including those with Canada (CETA) threatening domestic agricultural livelihoods all speak to this shift.”

He branded the move as unacceptable and remained bewildered that this may happen, “It is unacceptable that despite meat processing corporations in South America currently being forced to pay billions of dollars in fines for their roles in corruption scandals, we are supposed to believe that cheaper and lower quality imports won’t affect our farmers.”

Carthy also stated that this means that the rights of farmers are been gambled by the commission, “The Commission is trading away the rights of farmers at an unprecedented pace.

Closing off these debates means unaccountability towards farmers and the general public, as well as an opportunity for them to play sweet with the car and pharmaceutical lobby in other settings.

Carthy concluded by calling on Frances Fitzgerald to make Ireland active rather than sitting watching all the decisions being made,“As the new Minister Frances Fitzgerald takes office in Dublin there is an absolute necessity for the Irish government to move from being unquestioning cheerleaders of the EU Commissions trade agenda to defenders of Irish sectorial interest and the Irish economy.”

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