Thursday, June 23, 2005

Debating the future of CAP

RTE News reports that "the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said he is not seeking to scrap EU farm subsidies overnight but to reduce them gradually." Part of the plan of the British Government to attack the CAP has been the release of the benefits of Northern Irish farmers from the CAP (thanks to Slugger), which has outraged the Ulster Farmer Union. In the meantime, a communique from the DUP reports that MEP Jim Allister attacked Blair on this issue by saying: "Could I also urge you as PM of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to stand up unashamedly for the rightful interests of the UK, not least the wholly justified rebate, which you can properly defend on its own merits without cloaking that defence in agricultural issues, which, I remind you, are themselves important to my part of your country." More here


Here is the full press release from Jim Allister:

DUP MEP JIM ALLISTER was the only Northern Ireland MEP called to speak in the debate following Tony Blair's address to the European Parliament. In his speech Mr Allister urged the PM to pursue a radical agenda of reform, replacing political union with free trade as the cornerstone of Europe, whose present structures and policies had failed.

In his remarks Mr Allister said:-

"Mr Blair, following the referendum rejections of the Constitution, you rightly said that "profound questions" now arose about the future of Europe. From the example of last weekend, it is clear the present over-centralised EU is not working. Though Mr Juncker sought yesterday to make the UK a scapegoat, the reality is that it is the structures and policies of Europe which are fatally flawed.
Over the next 6 months you have a perfect opportunity to promote radical solutions. Sticky plaster politics won't work. "Ever closer union" has failed. Its time to embrace the primacy of the nation states over the stifling control of Brussels, its time to repatriate key powers to national parliaments and governments, its time to return to making free trade, not political union, the cornerstone of Europe.
Could I also urge you as PM of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to stand up unashamedly for the rightful interests of the UK, not least the wholly justified rebate, which you can properly defend on its own merits without cloaking that defence in agricultural issues, which, I remind you, are themselves important to my part of your country."

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