MEPs stand up for farmers in US trade deal

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Last week, MEPs called for European production standards to be upheld in any future trade agreement with the US.

In a vote of the parliament’s Agriculture Committee, MEPs urged negotiators to reach an ambitious and beneficial deal on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which maintained high production and animal welfare standards.

Passing the committee’s opinion on the controversial topic, MEPs called on the European Commission to prioritise market access, geographical indications and sanitary/phytosanitary measures.

They also insisted that citizens, and in particular, farmers, should be consulted on the trade talks at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jim Nicholson MEP (Ulster Unionist, Northern Ireland) who co-wrote the committee’s report on TTIP said: “There are opportunities for the EU in these negotiations. We must maintain our standards and defend our vulnerable sectors but we should not be inward looking. Instead we should be positive in exploring the opportunities [of TTIP] to their fullest extent.”

The committee’s opinion will now be forwarded to the International Trade committee which is in charge of drafting the parliament’s final position on the TTIP negotiations.

Parliament boosts school fruit and milk schemes

Member states must invest more effort and money in promoting healthy eating and the consumption of local foodstuffs amongst children, according to members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee. In a debate on a new set of rules for schemes providing fruit, vegetables and milk in schools, MEPs endorsed plans to merge milk and fruit schemes in schools. They also approved plans to extend education measures already included in the fruit scheme to milk. A report on the future of the schemes is due out next month.