Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has repeated calls for a deep and comprehensive deal to be brokered between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Mr Nicholson also pointed out that challenging discussions will have to take place among the 27 remaining Member States regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy post-Brexit.
Estonia will be taking over the rotating EU Presidency this summer and Jim Nicholson has met with the Estonian rural affairs minister Tarmo Tamm to address these issues.
Mr Nicholson said: “Getting a Brexit deal that works for all sides is vital, and will require hard work over the next 18 months. With the cross-border nature of our supply chains, it is particularly important for our local agri-food sector that we avoid tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade with the EU.
“Over the past number of months I have put these concerns to UK Government ministers and senior EU figures. We need a deep and comprehensive deal.
“However, it is also clear that the European Union will have to look at the future of the Common Agricultural Policy once the UK leaves. For one, the UK’s departure could see the CAP budget fall by some 10-15 per cent.
“Addressing this will require challenging discussions among the remaining 27 EU member states.
“Estonia will pick up the mantle of the rotating presidency of the EU Council in July, so I was happy to speak with the Estonian agriculture minister and officials as they prepare to set the agenda for what will be an important six months for UK and EU agriculture.”