Good News as Hong Kong lifts Restrictions on EU Meat Exports

Source: Ph. (Phil) Hogan i, published on Friday, February 17 2017.

This week we received great news on the trade front, as Hong Kong removed "born, raised and slaughtered" restrictions for EU meat exports.

This is a direct result of diplomatic engagement during my 2016 mission to Hong Kong, which proves yet again the huge value of forging strong global partnerships.

More good news came from Strasbourg, where the European Parliament approved the CETA agreement between Canada and the EU, which will save EU businesses over €500 million a year in tariffs on goods, offer greater choice to consumers while upholding European standards, and create new opportunities for farmers and food producers.

These are just two of the many good news stories the CAP has to tell the people of Europe- but it's clear to me that this very important message is not always getting across strongly enough with our citizens.

In some countries, notably the UK, Eurosceptic media have been allowed for decades to print fanciful or downright false narratives about the CAP being a waste of taxpayers' money or a subsidy for lazy continental farmers.

And I am often equally surprised by the failure of farmers to appreciate how fundamental the CAP is to their livelihood, which in turn leads to a failure on their part to robustly defend and communicate the importance of the policy for European society. The CAP is a policy for all the people of Europe!

In this time of growing populism and Eurosceptic nationalism, I believe it is more important than ever that we highlight to our citizens the added value that European cooperation brings to their lives - we must articulate our abundant database of positive EU narratives.

Yesterday, during an address to the Irish Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, I made the point that politicians and stakeholders of all stripes must assume responsibility in defending EU strengths. I'm conscious that I must do more, and I believe this attitude should be replicated across the board.

Every time I deal with a farmer, politician or other agri-food stakeholder, I try to impress upon them the need to communicate the benefits of the CAP to both rural and urban citizens.

We need to inform our citizens of the many and varied ways that European integration, the single market, and the CAP provide real, tangible benefits to their lives. We can and must all do more when it comes to defending policies such as the CAP, which work best when we pool our European resources.


Address to the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin