Traditional recipes

What Does the UK’s Shocking Brexit Vote Mean for the Future of the Food Industry, and Scotch Whisky?

What Does the UK’s Shocking Brexit Vote Mean for the Future of the Food Industry, and Scotch Whisky?

Britain’s referendum on whether it would remain a member of the European Union — a historic vote also known as Brexit — passed yesterday, with approximately 52 percent of Britons voting “leave.”

The move was shocking to many and was not supported by the UK’s own prime minister, David Cameron, or a number of world leaders including President Obama, who had expressed hope for “a different outcome.” In the wake of the vote, Cameron announced that he would resign.

More than 30 million people showed up at the polls to vote, with the majority of England and Wales voting in favor of Brexit, and the majority of Scotland and Northern Ireland voting “remain.”

It would appear that many Brits have yet to grasp the full extent of their decision. According to Google Trends, the top two EU-related questions searched in the UK since the referendum results were announced are “What does it mean to leave the EU?” and “What is the EU?”

Though the vote is not yet legally binding and the complicated withdrawal process is likely to take several years, the move effectively removes Britain as a member of the 28-nation European Union, a union of politically and economically collaborative member states. The EU has its own currency, the euro, though it is not used by the UK, as well as its own legislative body, the European Parliament.

A critical component of EU membership is the use of a single market, which allows the free movement of citizens, goods and services, and capital amongst member states, enabling people in EU countries to work anywhere in the EU. For Britain’s big businesses, including 70 percent of those within the British Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the single market was the biggest factor in the vote to remain.

Once the terms of Britain’s withdrawal are worked out, the UK could theoretically remain a member of the single market — though Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, has promised that the UK will not be permitted to rejoin the single market. “Leave is leave,” Schulz said. “The UK just decided to leave the European Parliament and that means also the single market of the European Union. I wonder whether this is a rational decision. It is an emotional one.”

In a statement signed by Schulz and other EU leaders, the UK has been urged to “give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible.”

Already, Britain has begun to feel the economic impact of its majority decision. In the hours since the results were announced, the British pound fell to its lowest value since 1985.

As for the British and European food and drink industries, the full impact of withdrawal from the EU’s market — which will undoubtedly bring new tariffs and trade issues — is difficult to quantify. “For businesses in the UK who import from or export to the EU or are part of an EU corporate group, this uncertainty means that planning is very difficult, if not impossible, a spokesman from the British law firm Eversheds told FoodNavigator. The UK will have to establish new trading agreements with each individual country from which it imports or exports supplies, and battle new restrictions. On the whole, Britain’s food industry is worth roughly £11 billion pounds a year, or $15 billion USD.

Ironically, some of Britain’s most beloved national foods, like Scotch whisky, Cornish pastries, and Stilton cheese, were protected under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin. Without EU protection, these lucrative regional labels may be up for grabs by any imitators. The UK currently has at least 73 such native foods, including Cheddar cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies. Even before the Brexit decision, experts warned that the world was running low on single malt whisky, and the UK’s new unprotected status could jeopardize the value of what true single malt remains.

Certain food sectors, including confectionary and ready-made products, are expected to be hit especially hard by new trade and manufacturing rules that follow Brexit. According to Euromonitor, snack items like candy, snack bars, biscuits, and chips — of which UK consumers are the second-largest buying group behind only Belgium — will be subject to the most regulatory concerns.

The vote also means that British farmers will not be subject to the EU’s stringent approach to pesticides like glyphosate — which is facing a potential ban across the whole union, and is already banned by select individual countries. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide in the UK, and as of late April, 58 percent of farmers favored leaving the UK. One study suggests, however, that without agricultural subsidies provided by the EU, only the top 10 percent most efficient farmers would be able to survive without free access to EU labor and markets.

For the British restaurant industry, the UK’s withdrawal is likely to affect the hospitality workforce as a whole, although the scope of the vote is, again, unclear. Like the U.S., a significant portion (roughly a third) of those working in the restaurant industry were not born in the UK, and those workers, including European migrants willing to work for lower wages, will not have the same freedom to work and live in Britain.

Meanwhile, restauranteurs also fear that Brexit will affect tourism from citizens of the EU, who may have a harder time visiting, and for whom the nation’s membership withdrawal leaves a bad taste.

Assuming that Brexit does pass — Parliament still has to vote on the decision — just about every single food sector will see some kind of shift. As a member, the UK was the second largest economy in the EU, behind Germany, and contributed to 35 percent of its growth between 2010 and 2015.

Even grocery shopping will be different — a weak British pound coupled with supply chain difficulties will mean higher prices for consumers, according to former executives of major British supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda.

“Leaving the EU will give ordinary British families a worse deal for years to come,” Richard Lloyd, a former executive director for the UK consumer group Which?, told the BBC.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.


Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

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Opinion: Common Agricultural Policy likely to remain for three more years

The Brexit bombshell has left Brussels reeling as I discovered this week.

I spoke to MEPs, Commissioners, officials and none of them had thought the UK would be foolish enough to vote to leave.

They were stunned by the political carnage the vote had unleashed in the UK with the Prime Minister resigning and the opposition at war with one another.

Some remarked that we were beginning to make Greece look like a well-run country.

Many colleagues from other countries were sad, some were angry but many were deeply concerned that the same forces could be unleashed in their own country.

Above all the question everyone was asking was “what happens next?”

By the end of the week some of the answers were beginning to emerge.

The initial angry reaction from other EU countries was to tell the UK to pack its bags and leave as quickly as possible.

However, it was clear from Chancellor Merkel’s comments and what many MEPs were saying privately to me that there should be a pause before the Exit button of Article 50 was triggered.

Once Article 50 is set in motion a two-year time frame for the exit negotiations to be completed comes into play.

That can be extended by unanimous agreement of the 27 member states.

It is now also clear that the negotiations to leave and the negotiations on the new relationship with the EU post Brexit would run concurrently.

So what does all this mean for Scottish farmers?

What we can say with some certainty is that the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), EU rules and unfettered access to EU export markets will remain in force until negotiations are complete.

Hopefully once the backstabbing is over we will have a new Prime Minister in September.

He or she will then want to take some time to agree what the UK negotiating position will be on Brexit before triggering Article 50.

That probably means November/December 2016 or possibly later for the negotiations to begin and be finished within two years.

No one in Brussels however believes that the negotiations can be done in that short timescale so it is a safe bet the timetable will be extended possibly to the end of 2019.

So farmers can at least plan on the basis of the status quo continuing for the next three years.

However it is now vital the farm unions start drawing up a list of farming priorities they want the UK Government to secure in the negotiations.

Top of that list must be unfettered access to EU markets, continued recognition of our PGI labels such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and free access for Eastern European workers who are vital to our fruit and vegetable sector.

They also need a Government promise that agriculture’s interests will be a top priority when they re-negotiate the fifty plus trade deals the EU currently has with third countries.

At the same time they also need to start planning for a new Scottish Cap to come into force in 2019.

Even more importantly will be the battle to replace the £500million of EU support Scottish farmers currently enjoy with funding from our own governments both north and south of the border.

So in the short term some certainty for the industry, but in the medium to long term there are major battles to be won to secure a prosperous future for Scottish agriculture.

* George Lyon is a former Liberal Democrat MEP. He works as a senior consultant for Hume Brophy and sits on the board of levy body organisation AHDB

Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Press and Journal

For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.