Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has said that EU agriculture “will have to have serious conversations” about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy budget, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Mr Nicholson pointed out that serious thinking must also be done by the UK Government as it directs a future agriculture policy for the UK, and highlighted the importance of securing a deep and comprehensive deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union post-Brexit.
Mr Nicholson (pictured) said: “In the coming months and years, EU Agriculture will have to have serious conversations about the future of the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy. As the United Kingdom has been one of the biggest net contributors to the EU budget, our departure as it stands could lead to a shortfall in the CAP budget of some €10-12billion.
“Additionally, even before the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, keeping agriculture’s large share of the EU budget took much hard work and negotiation. After Brexit, I suspect that EU agriculture will face an even tougher fight.
“In terms of our own future agricultural policy within the United Kingdom, we do not yet have any certainty as to what the situation will be like after 2022, and with stakeholders we will continue to press the UK Government to pursue policies that are of benefit to producers and the entire food supply chain.”
Mr Nicholson added: “Brexit poses challenges and opportunities for both the United Kingdom and the European Union. I strongly believe that it is in the interests of all parties to negotiate a deep and comprehensive trade deal with no additional barriers to trade.”