Sheep EID Still On Radar In Brussels

29 September 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) again met with European Commission officials to raise concerns on the implementation of the EID legislation and potential, though as yet only potential, impacts on cross compliance.
Smith met the Commission officials with representatives of farming unions, and his colleague Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans.
The duo were assured that the approach, from the Commission's side, remains that the penalties and enforcement of EID should be proportionate, and takes due recognition of the new technology and the need for training and best practice to emerge.  However, the Commission officials also warned that the legislation is a legal obligation and must be implemented.
After the meeting, Smith said:
"This was a helpful meeting, and to be fair I have found the European Commission officials helpful and professional throughout the many years I have been trying to overturn this law, agreed before any of us were in office in 2004 - before I was elected and also before the SNP government, now tasked with making it work.
"The majority of the other member states would not entertain the idea of kicking this legislation into touch now, so we are where we are and some time ago our focus changed to implementing it in the most helpful way possible.  That effort informed today's discussion.
"The officials confirmed that the view from the Commission, on both lost tags and on record keeping, will be proportionate, but also proportionate to the risk of individuals trying to get around the new rules and then blame the technology.  They also stressed that the Commission has issued guidance on a number of technical aspects of the legislation, and that it is up to the Scottish Government to devise a proportionate implementation scheme, and proportionate penalty scale for non-compliance.  The Commission officials were keen to stress they will continue to offer what guidance they can to ensure the technology beds down.
"I'm grateful for the support of NFUS on this issue, and will continue to keep this on my radar to make sure that we implement this as sensibly as we can."