Spain and France defend preservation of agro-food standards after Brexit

The governments of Spain and France have said that no future agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom, once Brexit becomes effective, can be detrimental to the common standards reached for food quality and safety.

This has been one of the issues addressed by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, and his French counterpart, Didier Guillaume, in a meeting held in Madrid, in which they have analyzed current issues for the sector, such as the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) or the European elections of May 26.

Regarding the need to maintain the agro-food standards, Planas said that this is a position that they share with France.

In his speech, he said that he expects Brexit to be "as little traumatic as possible" for the EU and the United Kingdom, and recalled the decree approved last Friday by the Council of Ministers, with actions to be undertaken by Spain in case a no-deal Brexit ensues.

For his part, Guillaume said that his country is ready to handle Brexit. They have already established the first controls at the borders, and the food controls, which are highly important for the rest of the EU, are being prepared. The key of the matter is that 80% of the foods shipped between both areas goes through French territory.

According to the French minister, there is an on-going debate between Paris and Brussels, but he says that even if there was a no-deal Brexit, not everything will just change overnight."

He admitted that some "problems" may arise for the fishing sector and for fresh and perishable product traders, but he assumes that they will have to be solved through commercial agreements.

Regarding the future CAP, both have stressed that one of its "hallmarks" should be an "ambition" to protect the environment and fight against climate change.

For Guillaume, the budget presented for the future PAC "is not what it ought to be," and recalled the unity shown by several EU countries, including France and Spain, in events in which it was argued that the budget of the previous PAC should be maintained.


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