6 November 2001
Farmers don’t want Euro – poll

By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

MOST farmers are against joining the Euro, according to a straw poll conducted at a business breakfast held on Tuesday (6 November).

Three times as many farmers in a 100-strong audience at the Ardingly showground, West Sussex, voted against the Euro as voted for it.

The poll was taking after presentations from pro-Euro Sussex farmer Stephen Carr and anti-Euro Hampshire farmer Charlie Flindt.

Mr Carr told listeners at the FARMERS WEEKLY/South of England Agricultural Society event that he was a pragmatist, not an idealist.

The European Union was “a good thing”, in terms of boosting trade and delivering peace, and it was better to be at the heart of it, he said.

“There are long-term dangers if you are forever foot-dragging. In the end, youll be excluded from the best privileges the club has to offer.”

The fact the UK still had the strongest economy in Europe made joining the Euro even more imperative, said Mr Carr.

“If we are left on the outside with a strengthening Pound, the implications for farmers are disastrous,” he added.

Mr Carr warned against farmers turning their backs on Europe. Without the “protection” of the EU farm lobby they would be worse off, he said.

But Mr Flindt said there was more to the issue than eliminating currency risk – the Euro was about political union as well as monetary union.

Numerous European leaders had admitted there was a need to give up more national sovereignty in the quest for closer political ties, added Mr Flindt.

“At least they are honest,” he said, voicing deep reservations about giving more power to a European Commission staffed by “failed” politicians.

“Joining the Euro would be like selling all my farm machinery.

“In the short run Id have more money in my bank account, but Id be in a right pickle by the time harvest came along.”