In the UK, Dairy UK chairman Paul Vernon called for ‘urgent answers on Brexit and the threat to stability for business and the dairy sector.’
Speaking during the European Dairy Association (EDA) Annual Convention in Dublin last week, Vernon, who is also CEO of Glanbia Cheese, said, “The dairy sector needs answers on Brexit. Business leaders need to be able to plan for the medium to long term, and in order to do that we need to know not only if there will be a transition period but how long it will be, and what exactly it entails. This continued turmoil will simply not help UK businesses and will certainly not help the dairy sector.
“Businesses need time to be able to implement and test any proposed Brexit agreement. Deviation from how we operate today will cost businesses money, so the more time and clarity we have the more successful we can make any Brexit outcome. From the outset of the Brexit negotiations Dairy UK has called for clarity and we continue to do so today.”
Good day for dairy
However, at the same meeting, EDA president Michel Nalet acknowledged the effort of both negotiation teams to come to a withdrawal agreement.
“It is in the interest of the dairy industry and of the citizens, in the Union as well as in the United Kingdom, that this withdrawal agreement secures the free movement of milk and dairy products between the UK and the EU,” Nalet said.
“We call now to the decision makers on both sides to act responsibly. We have consistently called for both sides to avoid a no deal situation and to ensure the closest possible future trading relationship. We now look to EU and UK leaders to sign off the agreement as quickly as possible to allow the EU and UK parliaments to ratify.”
Calling it a “good day for dairy," Nalet said the European dairy industry is integrated across borders.
“This is especially true for the island of Ireland but applies also to the rest of Europe. We therefore welcome the news that the UK and EU negotiators have reached a deal on the withdrawal agreement and on the political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and UK,” Nalet said.