Fairness for Farmers in Europe, an association representing 30 farm organisations in Britain, Ireland and the EU, has expressed fears that the Commission is prepared to “sell out” EU farming during WTO negotiations.

Representatives of FFE met EU farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel in Strasbourg on Tuesday (13 June) for what they described as a frank and rewarding meeting.

But the delegates warned that they came away with the feeling that there is a commission mindset prepared to sell out the agricultural sector.

“The intentions of the commission are now unmistakeable: unless there is political action at the head of government level, agriculture is to be sacrificed in return for some trade benefits in the industrial and services sector,” said the group.

“European farmers must mobilise immediately to put the maximum pressure on their governments, aimed at ensuring the commission stays within its negotiating mandate for the WTO discussions.”

Irish delegates on the delegation went further, accusing the commissioner of adopting a fundamentally flawed approach of importing more food, exporting less food and adopting a relentless policy of cutting EU supports for agriculture.

FFE includes groups such as Farmers For Action, National Beef Association (UK & NI), Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, Northern Ireland Agriculture Producers’ Association, Farmers’ Union of Wales, Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association, Soil Association and the Country Land and Business Association.