EU rules out further changes to EID rules

EUROPEAN Commission officials have told farm leaders there will be no more changes to the controversial rules on electronic identification (EID) in sheep.

Following a meeting in Brussles on simplifying animal identification yesterday (Thursday, September 10), officials told NFU Scotland there was no more room for concessions.

The Commission has already granted a series of concessions to the UK such as the slughter derogation and the ablity to read and record movements at critical control points such as marts and abattoirs rather than having to be done on the farm.

However, NFUS president Jim McLaren said it was ‘deeply disappointing’ there was no room for further changes and he called for an urgent meeting with Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou to discuss the regulations.

Mr McLaren said: “Here we are in Brussels discussing simplification of arrangements for the identification and registration of animals when we are a few short months away from Europe bringing into force regulations within the sheep sector that will have exactly the opposite effect.  

“There are times when the European machine needs to take a step back and give greater consideration to the impact of its actions rather than viewing increased regulation as the only answer.

“The response from Commission officials on the prospect of securing further changes to Regulation 21/2004 was disappointing but unsurprising.  

“I took the opportunity to repeat my request for a meeting with Commissioner Vassiliou, following up written requests and requests lodged on our behalf by friendly MEPs.”

He was joined by the National Sheep Association’s (NSA) George Milne, who called on Ministers to recognise the burden being placed on the UK sheep industry.

He said: “The whole principle of these regulations is completely flawed. Ministers across the EU must wake up to this and enter into debate with the commission to re-open the legislation and make controls more practical and workable. “

But despite the calls for the debate to be re-opened, the Commission has urged member states to stop arguing over the rules and start thinking about how to implement them.

The Scottish Government also held a meeting yesterday (Thursday, September 10), with stakeholders to discuss the progress of the EID pilot schemes in place and the EID consultation published earlier this week.

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