The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) says the UK Government’s new proposals to solve the Northern Irish impasse would still leave Wales and Welsh farmers ‘out in the cold’ - even if the EU accepted the offer.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Even if the EU accepts the offer in spite of the Good Friday agreement, it makes no difference to the core concerns regarding the impact on Welsh agriculture and the Welsh economy.”
Mr Roberts said that the Union remained clear in its view that the UK as a whole should remain within both the Single Market and Customs Union in order to minimise severe economic impacts.
“Re-fudging the Irish backstop to try and address valid Northern Irish concerns should not be perceived as a ‘new deal’ for the UK as a whole. It does nothing to stop the worries inherent in the original Withdrawal Deal, which would in any case only apply for a very short period. Nor would it make any difference to the vague and open-ended Political Declaration which relates to how Wales and the UK would trade with the EU in the long term.”
The Union president said that the most sensible option, therefore, would be for the whole of the UK to stay within the single market and the customs union.
“Since January we have advocated withdrawing Article 50 in order to return us to a sensible negotiation timetable and put the ball back in our court so we can negotiate a sensible Brexit deal.
“But there is also the option we have advocated since the June 2016 Referendum which is supported by the EU, which is to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union to minimise what even the Government’s own analyses say would be severe economic impacts.”
Mr Roberts said this would respect the referendum outcome while preventing damage to our economy and rural communities.
“Irrespective of such concerns, I truly hope that this is a genuine offer rather than a cynical ploy aimed at preventing a safe and timely Brexit in order to attract the support of an impatient public,” added Mr Roberts.