Jerome Bandry, secretary general of the European Agricultural Machinery Industry Association (CEMA), says that the high-level summit originally planned mid-June as a stock-taking ahead of the July 1 deadline to agree an extension to the Brexit transition period, which will end on December 31, acknowledged minimal progress so far and delivered little more than promises to intensify negotiations. The UK has now formally confirmed that it will not seek extra time and the EU claims to be ready to be creative – within reason – to find common ground. July is starting with an intensified round of talks.
Jerome Bandry says that farm machinery businesses cannot be told forever to hope for the best while planning for the worst. Clarity on the future EU-UK relationship must emerge over the next couple of months, protecting the integrity of the single market while hopefully delivering a level-playing field with appropriate governance, frictionless trade and regulatory dynamic alignment for agricultural machinery. Other options are of course foreseeable for businesses, although they all unfortunately come at a cost.
In any case, and especially in a post-Covid-19 world, businesses and citizens on both sides of the Channel would undoubtedly be better off without the unnecessary burden of political drama and last-minute chaos. We have done our share and the stakes are clear. Now is the time for political leadership and legacy, says Jerome Bandry.