Arnold Puech-d'Alissac, vice-president of FNSEA, France's largest farming union, has warned of the post-Brexit impact on EU farmers.
He told France 24 that farmers could lose billions in subsidy payments when the UK leaves, with the main concern being how the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget is calculated.
“We can lose some billions,” he said. “But if you lose some billions in the EU budget, the UK will lose all the European market for its financial services, for example, and that will be a big problem for the UK.”
However, Puech-d'Alissac stated his confidence that a deal would be done between the two sides in the coming year and a half.
“The negotiations just started,” he said. “We have 18 months to find an agreement. They will find an agreement.”
He also revealed that French farmers were concerned over the issue of the Irish border post-Brexit and the danger of non-EU goods crossing it.
"You need to find a solution because the north and south parts of Ireland make a lot of business and they will continue,” he said. “To have a strict border between these two countries seems to be impossible, but maybe at the exit you can have a strict control.”
Regarding the possible accession of new countries into the EU, including Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey, Puech-d'Alissac said that this presented challenges, but that the most important thing was that these countries met European standards.
“They will develop very quickly their production, so they are a danger for us,” he said. “But we expect that they will also increase their level of consumption, their standards, and then their consumers will have higher needs than now.”