Flanagan seeks clarity on Brexit beef package conditions

A Midlands North West MEP says the Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture must clarify comments he made about the conditions attached to the €100 million Brexit beef package.

According to Independent Luke Ming Flanagan, Mr Gleeson suggested at the Agriculture Committee in Leinster House last week that a temporary reduction in supply was a condition according to the EU's regulations.

However, Mr Flanagan says that's not the case, and the EU's own rules offer it as an option.

He's asking for clarity, and wants to know why the other options were not mentioned............

 

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Press Statement in full -

Commenting after Mr Brendan Gleeson’s appearance at the public account committee, MEP Luke Ming Flanagan said that Mr Gleeson had serious questions to answer in regard to his spin on the conditions for farmers seeking to avail of funding from the €100 million Brexit beef package.

At the Committee, Mr Gleeson is reported to have said that;

The conditions include membership of an environmental scheme or membership of a quality assurance scheme.  Then there is the requirement imposed by the commission that we would have some kind of a temporary reduction.  The secretary general went on further to say that the European Commission examined the case put forward for the Irish market and according to him they said ‘well, if you want this €50 million, one of the conditions must be there must be some temporary adjustment in supply to address the market issue.”

For his benefit, below is an extract from article one of the implementing regulation;

Article 1

  1. Union aid of a total amount of EUR 50 000 000 shall be available to Ireland to provide exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef and veal sector subject to the conditions set out in paragraphs 2 to 5.
  2. Ireland shall use the amount available for measures referred to in paragraph 3. The measures shall be taken on the basis of objective and non-discriminatory criteria, provided that the resulting payments do not cause distortion of competition.
  3. The measures taken by Ireland shall be aimed at reducing production or restructuring the beef and veal sector and one or more of the following objectives:

(a)           implementation of quality schemes in the beef and veal sector or projects aiming at promoting quality and value added;

(b)          boosting market diversification;

(c)           protecting and improving the farmers’ environmental, climate and economic sustainability.

It is clear from the Article, which is the legal text, said MEP Flanagan, that the regulation requires reduction in production OR restructuring of the beef industry.  A point I personally clarified with the authors of the regulation when I met them in Brussels.  Why did Mr Gleeson spin it in a different manner? I would ask the Minister to make a statement on this concluded Mr Flanagan.