DUP MEP Diane Dodds has responded to comments made by the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, in which he painted a stark picture for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after the UK’s exit from the EU.
Commenting, Mrs Dodds said: “During the referendum campaign, the remain camp gave great emphasis to the certainty offered to local farmers by the CAP.
“Many sought to belittle the fact that every year we in the UK put in €7.9bn yet only receive €3.8bn in return.
“Commissioner Hogan’s recent comments prove that this stance was foolish.
“He predicts a €3bn black hole in the CAP budget created by the UK’s departure, and warns of only two possible solutions – larger contributions or reduced payments for countries still in the EU.
“This genuine prospect of a loss in farm income across the EU proves that scare stories around the future of UK support are completely ill-informed.
“The reality is that the tables have been turned. UK taxpayers will no longer put twice as much into the pot than they get back out.
“Unlike farmers in France, Germany or the Republic of Ireland, I am delighted that post-Brexit farm businesses in Northern Ireland will not have to grapple with the prospect of paying more or receiving less.
“We now have an opportunity to devise a new agriculture that meets the needs of stakeholders right across the sectors affected.
“That means preserving a system of direct support that is value added and sustainable into the future.
“These are principles that have already been set out by the UK Farm Minister George Eustice and my colleague the DAERA Minister.
“We in the DUP will continue to ensure that they are delivered.”