Lisbon vote ‘will hit EU agriculture’

THE decision of Irish voters not to ratify the Lisbon treaty is a serious issue that has a strong bearing on agriculture, according to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel.

She told a conference in Italy that the European Commission was disappointed by the vote.

“An immediate consequence will be that co-decision on agriculture with the European Parliament will not be introduced on January 1, 2009,” said Ms Fischer Boel.

“I don’t think this is the time or place to reflect further on what will happen in the future. We must now consider carefully how to move forwards in a positive frame of mind.”

Ms Fischer Boel and senior commission officials meanwhile met with IFA president Padraig Walshe, chief executive Michael Berkery and European director Michael Treacy in Brussels yesterday.

Mr Walshe said the commissioner stated that her commitment to Irish farmers was not in any way diminished despite her disappointment at the no vote.

He said he told Ms Fischer Boel that there had been a high turnout of farmers and that 76% had voted yes.

The IFA president told her the no vote was not anti-Europe and that the IFA and farmers wanted to continue to play an active part at the heart of Europe.


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