UKsecond class in EU, says Mole

4 July 1997

UKsecond class in EU, says Mole

UK FARMERS are now second class citizens in the European single market, according to Scottish NFU president Sandy Mole.

"Other member states have forced extra costs on us to achieve impeccable health standards. But with breathtaking hypocrisy, they refuse to apply the same standards in their own countries, he told the unions council meeting in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

"Our farmers are also unique in the way they suffer from the effects of the green money system. We demand equal standards and even-handed rules. It is up to our government and the EU Commission to stop the discrimination which puts impossible financial pressure on our industry," said Mr Mole.

The price cuts of 20% for cereals and beef, and 15% for milk, were the results of the high value of sterling. It had delivered a body blow to the industry and set back the steady income recovery that had been taking place.

"That recovery, that confidence, that hope is being wiped out. The strong pound sucks in imports and cuts our market support levels. But the system is not so efficient when it comes to compensation and offers no guarantee that we will be treated equally.

"Farmers in Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, and Ireland have all been compensated to avoid discrimination when exchange rates go against them.

"These are our trading partners and I have to ask our government if we are to have the only uphill playing field in Europe. We are entitled to ask for equal treatment with our competitors. We are entitled to a fair future," said Mr Mole.

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