No ‘moun­tains of but­ter’ in EU

Shepparton News - Country News - - EUROA SHOW 2018 -

Aus­tralian farm­ers have been told they do not have to worry about the Euro­pean Union’s fa­bled ‘‘moun­tains of but­ter’’ in free trade ne­go­ti­a­tions.

A del­e­ga­tion of Euro­pean MPs are in Aus­tralia as part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions on a free-trade deal and they are op­ti­mistic about get­ting it done.

‘‘Aus­tralian farm­ers can ex­pect in­creased ac­cess to the Euro­pean mar­ket fol­low­ing these ne­go­ti­a­tions, if ev­ery­thing else goes in place nicely,’’ Ro­ma­nian MP Sorin Moisa said.

Lo­cal farm­ers have long pushed for ac­cess to the lu­cra­tive Euro­pean mar­ket but pre­vi­ously had to com­pete with heav­ily sub­sidised pro­duce.

Mr Moisa said that was no longer the case.

‘‘The moun­tains of but­ter that may still per­sist in the Aus­tralian imag­i­na­tion when you think about the EU — they are long gone,’’ he said.

‘‘We have a very mar­ket-ori­ented com­mon agri­cul­tural pol­icy now; we no longer have ex­port sub­si­dies, so for at least a gen­er­a­tion now in Europe we have fully mod­ernised.

‘‘The im­age of a ‘Fortress Europe’, des­per­ately pro­tect­ing its agri­cul­ture no mat­ter what, is a thing of the past.’’

Mr Moisa said the MPs were ex­am­in­ing how Aus­tralian farms were set up, par­tic­u­larly large cat­tle farms.

A free-trade deal with the EU will open up a mar­ket of half a bil­lion peo­ple, in an econ­omy worth $22.6 tril­lion.

A sec­ond round of ne­go­ti­a­tions on the deal is due later this month.

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