Three years ago today (24 June), on the day the EU Referendum result was announced, the Farmers’ Union of Wales welcomed then Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to delay invoking Article 50 and called for the UK and EU to agree on a sensible timetable for Brexit.
FUW President Glyn Roberts went on to urge the UK Government to start work to build a positive future for farming and the rural economy outside the EU and warned that an EU exit over too short a period would have dire consequences for both the UK and the EU.
“There is a monumental amount of work to do in terms of changing domestic arrangements and legislation, including in terms of Welsh devolved legislation, not to mention unravelling us from the EU budget to which we were previously committed, negotiating trade deals and dealing with issues such as border controls.
“Such issues will also require a huge amount of work at the EU level, and we do not believe a rapid exit over a couple of years would be in either the UK or the EU’s interests,” said Mr Roberts in June 2016.
In addition, on the same day, the Union said that “Our current thinking is that...our formal exit should coincide with the end of the current EU budgetary period in 2020 in order to help ensure a smooth transition.
“Unravelling us from the EU budget to which we were previously committed; negotiating trade deals and dealing with issues such as border controls will take time. We do not believe a rapid exit over a couple of years would be in anyone’s interests and could leave us with the worst of all worlds.”
Today, FUW President Glyn Roberts said that the FUW’s warnings made on the day the EU referendum result was announced are as pertinent as ever, and urged the next Prime Minister to proceed with caution.
Speaking from his farm in North Wales he said: “We have said consistently that no responsible government would allow a hard Brexit to take place, given the severe impacts for our nations, including for farming.
“I urge the two candidates standing for the roles of Conservative Party leader and Prime Minster to be conscious that the economic future of the nation is now at stake, and that a realistic way forward is needed."