Post referendum clarity from Commissioner Hogan welcomed

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Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Barclay Bell, has welcomed clarity from EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, on the current situation for UK farmers following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

In a formal letter to the UFU President, Mr Hogan confirmed that the UK remains a full member of the EU with all the “rights and obligation’s” this entails until Article 50 discussions are complete.

“This letter has provided some clarity in uncertain times. His message is that while we are part of the EU the existing rules, and penalties, will continue to apply.”

Barclay Bell, Ulster Farmers’ Union president

He has also highlighted that, as such, UK farmers “continue to have full access to CAP support schemes and to the EU internal market” but stressed that they must continue to fully meet the rules of the CAP right up to when the UK exits.

Commissioner Hogan’s letter also clarified that following the UK’s exit from the EU, the situation will then depend on “the transitional arrangements included in the withdrawal agreement and any possible agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relationship”.

Mr Bell commented: “This letter has provided some clarity in uncertain times. His message is that while we are part of the EU the existing rules, and penalties, will continue to apply.

“It is vital farmers take the commissioner’s reminder seriously. We have already heard reports of confusion in England, Where farmers believe that they no longer need to adhere to the existing EU rules and are doing things that will put their CAP payments at risk,” said Mr Bell.

The UFU focus now is on how we move forward and ensure politicians here and at Westminster fully understand the needs of farmers.

“Discussions are already underway within the UFU about the principles we believe must underpin local and national farming policies. We believe these should shape negotiations to ensure the best exit deal possible for Northern Ireland’s farmers,” said the UFU president.