Farm unions squabble over Europe

The rivalry between the two Welsh farming unions has resurfaced over the question of which one represents members best in Europe.

Maeve Whyte, director of the NFU’s Brussels office, told an NFU Cymru council meeting that it was the only one on the spot to work for Welsh and UK farmers on a daily basis.

“In Brussels we are currently looking at creating the solutions for issues that will affect Welsh farmers in three to four years’ time,” said Ms Whyte.

But Farmers Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan told his annual meeting that the organisation had answered claims that it was too inward-looking and did not co-operate fully with farmers in other parts of Europe.

He acknowledged successful lobbying in the EU’s corridors of power was the key to Wales’ farming future and insisted the FUW was working closely with like-minded agricultural organisations across Europe.

“My colleagues and I in the presidential team have, over the last year, held regular talks with politicians and senior officials in the European Union,” said Mr Vaughan.

“We have initiated talks at a European level on everything from promoting Welsh food to calling for increased funds for the Rural Development Plan.”

But he said it was painfully obvious from the discussions that the Westminster government was the least sympathetic to farming within the EU.

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