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Nicholson: Commission’s proposals do not address current problems

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has said that the package proposed by the European Commission ahead of the extraordinary meeting of the EU’s Agriculture Ministers does not contain enough measures to tackle the immediate problems facing aspects of the agricultural industry.

Speaking ahead of the press conference following the Agriculture Council Jim said:

“At this stage, and without having access to all the details of the package or knowing the outcome of today’s meeting it appears that many of the measures proposed do not address the difficulties currently facing farm businesses and families.

“The headline grabbing €500million targeted aid for farmers will not amount to much once it is subdivided across Member States – but we must get our share of this.

“The new private storage scheme for pigmeat will provide some relief to pig farmers who have seen markets tumble in recent months.

“Crucially the European Commission has not committed to a review of the dairy intervention prices. This is hugely frustrating given that current levels are totally out of date and are as a result ineffective.”

Jim continued: “The Commission must use all the tools at its disposal to relieve the immediate pressure on farmers and reviewing the dairy intervention prices would help to do this by stabilising the market.

“Securing trade agreements and spending more on promotion for example are of benefit the industry but in the longer term – meaningful action is needed now.”

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