Farming Unions Mark 40 Years in Europe

NFU Scotland and its fellow UK farming Unions have celebrated 40 years in Europe with a reception in Brussels showcasing the very best in home-produced food and drink.

The reception, held last night (Thursday, 20 September), marked the 40th anniversary since NFUS, NFU, NFU Cymru and the Ulster Farmers Union opened their joint office in Brussels to speak up for British farmers in Europe.  The UK farming unions picked their office in 1972 - a year ahead of the UK’s official entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 – and have worked tirelessly since that date to influence regulations that would impact on UK farmers.

And with the latest reform of the Common Agricultural Policy underway, and the volume of EU regulations and directives growing, the importance of the Bureau de l’Agriculture Britannique (BAB) has never been greater.

NFU Scotland Vice-Presidents Allan Bowie and John Picken attended the reception.

Maeve Whyte, current director of the UK NFUs’ BAB office in Brussels, said:

“I am proud to say that over the past four decades this office has developed a reputation as one of the most astute and well-connected of all farm lobby groups in Brussels.

“Since 1972, when we established our office here, the rules and regulations on agriculture and the environment have come hard and fast. From the type of fuel you put into your tractor, to the size of your single farm payment. From how to tag your livestock, to which pesticides you can spray on your crop. Given this monumental impact on British agriculture it is essential that the UK farming unions are working in Brussels to shape legislation from its inception.

“You don’t need to look any further than the current reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, which is worth almost £4 billion to UK farmers, to see why it is important that we continue to engage in Europe. 

“It is easy for farmers to poke fun at Brussels – the home to stories on bendy bananas and curvy cucumbers – but this often quirky Belgian capital outstrips even Westminster in its strategic importance to Scottish and UK farmers and if we failed to engage our industry would be left behind.” 

Notes to Editors

A photograph of the NFUS Vice Presidents John Picken and Allan Bowie attending the reception in Brussels is available on request.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006


Date Published:

News Article No.: 99/12

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