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‘We need fresh approach to Brexit’

Created on 20/06/2017 @ 07:22
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As Brexit negotiations got underway in Brussels, Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts has called on the newly elected UK Government to adopt a fresh start to and secure a softer departure.

Speaking at the Union’s Annual General meeting in alongside Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths on Monday, Mr Roberts also highlighted the industry’s anger with the previous UK Government for having adopted a ‘hard Brexit’, policies which stood in stark contrast to those advocated by the FUW and others.

“Our policies on the Brexit timetable, membership of the common market and the customs union, and the need for a soft Brexit all stand in complete contrast to the aggressive policies adopted by the last UK Government.

“I say ‘policies’, but perhaps they would be better simply described as ‘gambles’. Gambles with our industry. Gambles with our jobs. Gambles with our very future as a nation,” he told FUW members and Welsh Government officials at the meeting in Aberystwyth.

Mr Roberts said that every warning made in his and his predecessors’ speeches over the past five years about the dangers of leaving the EU were now being discussed in the mainstream media.

“In an unstable world, stability cannot be achieved through alienating our neighbours, cheap food importation policies which rely on favourable exchange rates, trade deals which do not yet exist, and supply chains which can be turned off like a tap or restricted by tariffs.

“The UK Government must wake up to the dangers of some of the policies now being discussed.”

Mr Roberts said it was essential to grasp every opportunity, and that this would mean politicians and farmers adopting new approaches. 

“Our leaders must properly acknowledge the fantastic food, culture, environments and landscapes which are produced by our rural communities, while we as farmers must adopt very different and - dare I say it - more positive attitudes, readying ourselves for what will become a very different world. Business as usual for government and farmers alike is not an option.”

Mr Roberts said that with issues such as bovine TB, quarantine units, NVZs, and Glastir, the FUW would continue to make its views clear, and that these would sometimes be at odds with those of the Welsh Government.

“But those differences must be respected and put to one side, rather than dividing us, when it comes working together to avoid the perils, and grasping the opportunities which are ahead of us,” he added.

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