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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 16:58 GMT
Gwyther attends EU food safety talks
Christine Gwyther AM
Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther attended talks in Brussels
Welsh Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther has become the first member of the National Assembly to attend top level EU policy talks.

Ms Gwyther joined UK agriculture minister Nick Brown and Scottish Parliament agriculture minister Ross Finnie for the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels.

Ministers discussed the white paper on food safety in Europe and new proposals to change the way school milk is paid for.

But the importance of the talks has led to Plaid Cymru querying why it had not been appropriately raised with AMs in Wales.

This is an excellent opportunity to stress the difficulties facing Welsh farmers and the whole rural economy in Wales at the highest level

Plaid agriculture spokesman Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM
Mr Thomas, though, added that it was "crucial" Wales had a voice in European agriculture talks.

But Plaid MEP Eurig Wyn went on to condemn the lack of consultation with the Assembly and questioned whether Ms Gwyther had a "hidden agenda".

"I am concerned that there seems to have been no consultation between Christine and the Assembly on this visit," he said.

"I understand that Christine reported to the Assembly's Agriculture committee last Wednesday and did not mention this trip.

"Leaving opposition parties totally in the dark about the issues she will raise at this top-level meeting is certainly not inclusive politics.

"Does Christine have a hidden agenda which she doesn't want the Assembly to know about?"

'Excellent opportunity'

Rhodri Glyn Thomas added: "If Christine is attending this meeting it is of course a step forward for Wales and a move Plaid Cymru would very much welcome.

"We have called for some time for Wales to have an input at these crucial meetings.

"This is an excellent opportunity to stress the difficulties facing Welsh farmers and the whole rural economy in Wales at the highest level."

Meanwhile, the Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions group is also in Belgium attending a food exhibition.

The group will be exhibiting Welsh produce at Tavola 2000.

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09 Mar 00 | Wales
'Go it alone' call over GM ban
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