Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2010-07-08-Speech-4-094"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, clearly the Mercosur countries are important trading partners for us. However, Commissioner, this trade with the Mercosur countries should not be allowed to become a one-way street. The frequent claims made in public that Europe is closing itself off in the agricultural markets are quite wrong. We purchase over 90% of African agricultural exports and 45% of Central and South American agricultural exports. Europe is certainly not closed off to external trade. What I would criticise, Commissioner, is the information policy pursued. It has not been good. As an agricultural policymaker, I first learned that these negotiations had begun when I opened the newspapers. In future we should not have to rely on the press for our information. I urge you to inform the agricultural sector represented here in Parliament about the progress of negotiations. Another point I would criticise is the fact that the objective here is free trade that is not based on standards. How can it be that we demand high standards of consumer protection, animal protection and environmental protection in Europe, but do not require the same standards from imports? Let me offer just one example in this regard. Last year, Parliament passed the most stringent plant protection product legislation in the world. Many active ingredients are prohibited in Europe. Commissioner, we cannot have a situation in the future where food is supplied to Europe from countries in which active ingredients are used that are prohibited in Europe for reasons of consumer protection. Consumer protection is inviolable and we would do well to remember this in negotiations. Then we have nothing to fear from our competitors, and we European farmers will stand our ground against this competition."@en1

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