EUROPEAN agriculture and rural development commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, who has announced she will not seek a second term in the office, declared yesterday it was not an easy decision.
“I’ve had a fantastic five years,” she said.
“We have achieved much, continuing the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, making our policy more market-orientated and geared towards new challenges such as climate change.
“But it was the right decision. It’s a very demanding job and our farmers deserve that the person in charge will give 110% or not do it at all. “One should never talk about a lady’s age but if I were 10 years younger, I wouldn’t have hesitated to take five more years,” she said.
IFA president Padraig Walshe, wishing Mrs Fischer Boel well in her retirement, said that she had always been generous in the access allowed to his association during her time as commissioner.
“She took a keen interest in the issues that we raised with her. In particular, her support for our campaign to have a total ban on Brazilian beef imports was very helpful,” he said.
Mr Walshe said that her successor would take over at what was a crucial time for the direction of European agriculture, with the future of the Common Agriculture Policy to be discussed between now and 2013.
He called on Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith to take an active interest in ensuring that the new commissioner for agriculture was equipped to deal effectively with the portfolio.
Ireland East MEP Máiréad McGuinness, wishing Ms Fischer Boel well, urged the Government to lobby now for the agricultural portfolio in the new Commission.
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