Travel Blog: 2nd European Congress
On the 29th of January a delegation of Macra members attended the 2nd European Congress in the European Parliament Buildings in Brussels. The congress was organised by the European People Party of whom our Sponsoring MEP Mairead McGuiness is a member. Having arrived early in the morning we had time to have a look around Brussels before heading to meet Conor Mulvihill of ICOS the Irish Co-operative Association). Conor explained to us about the work he does in Brussels representing ICOS and ensuring the best interests of our co-operatives and therefore our farmers are communicated to all interested parties, particularly MEP’s.
In the evening we attend the launch of the congress and listened to a number of speakers on the night including Matthew Foster, Vice-President of the sponsor Case IH & Steyr. Day 2 began with presentations from various young farmers organisation relating to the theme of the congress and competition that was running alongside it. Our own group leader and Agri Affairs chairman Sean Coughlan presented a case study on his own farm and the measures he had taken to make it more sustainable using efficient grassland management programmes and better farm management techniques which was well received by all. We heard from other speakers including European Peoples Party chairman Joseph Daul on the importance of Agriculture and Rural communities to the European Union as a whole. The afternoon and final session involved a questions and answers format and representatives of the Agriculture Commission interacted with the participants to give us an overview of where European Agricultural policy is headed.
On behalf of the travelling delegation I would like to thank Sean Coughlan for acting as group leader and representing Macra in the Agri sustainability competition and in particular thank Mairead McGuinness for sponsoring the opportunity for Macra.