The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the announcement that there may be a vote on extending Article 50 if the Prime Ministers deal is voted down on March 12, reduces the chances of a ‘no deal’ situation at the end of March.
Commenting, UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “The UFU has always maintained that leaving the European Union without a deal would be disastrous for farm businesses and the economy in Northern Ireland. We want to see a deal secured, one that allows for trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well as trade between NI and the Republic of Ireland to continue with minimal disruption, and enables frictionless trade with the rest of the EU.”
The UFU says however that while the likelihood of a ‘no deal’ will be much lower, the possible extension of Article 50 does not take ‘no deal’ off the table. All it does is simply buy the Prime Minister more time.
“This is not ideal for farm businesses here in Northern Ireland. Farmers want answers and at this moment in time, they face uncertainty as to what any future trading relationship will look like with the Republic of Ireland and other EU Member States,” said Mr Ferguson.
The UFU says it is crucial that any extension to Article 50 is used constructively to ensure a deal is made with Europe, one that works for farmers and the wider agri-food industry here in Northern Ireland.