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Brexit and CAP Reform - Creed Meets Danish and Belgian Agriculture Ministers

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, today held separate talks with his Danish and Belgian counterparts on the margins of the Informal Council of Agriculture Ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria. The discussions with Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and Denis Ducarme focused on the current situation in relation to Brexit in the lead-up to this month’s European Council, and on CAP reform issues following the recent publication by the Commission of its proposals for the post-2020 period.

Speaking after the meetings, the Minister said: “I was delighted to avail of this opportunity to discuss the many challenges that Brexit and CAP reform give rise to for the agri-food sector, with two very important EU partners. We had a very useful exchange, in particular on the state of play in relation to Brexit. Both of my colleagues are relatively recent appointees, so I outlined the potential difficulties that Brexit will create for Ireland’s agri-food sector given our exposure to the UK market and the critical importance of facilitating Irish exports, through the UK  landbridge, to the EU market. We also discussed shared concerns about the progress made to date on the withdrawal negotiations, and about the need for the UK to engage in a much more substantive way on the key issues, particularly in relation to the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland. I acknowledged Member States’ support for Ireland’s position to date, and was again very struck by the degree of commonality evident in today’s discussions. I also agreed with each of my colleagues that our officials should remain in close contact in relation to potential areas of practical cooperation that might be necessary as the negotiations unfold.

Today’s discussions also covered CAP reform. Minister Creed outlined Ireland’s priorities, which he emphasised were underpinned by the need to secure an adequate budget for the CAP from the recently-commenced negotiations on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. Accepting that Member States have different views on the matter - and acknowledging in particular the Danish position in this regard - the Minister said: “Our exchanges today on CAP reform were very instructive. I emphasised in particular the importance of an adequate budget if we want to achieve the objectives we have set ourselves. Indeed, this was a point that I reiterated very strongly at today’s Informal Council discussions, which focused on the need for generational renewal in agriculture. It was evident from today’s bilateral meetings that, while we have sometimes differing approaches, we share the common objective of ensuring that the CAP continues to underpin the development of the European agri-food sector. This provides the basis for what I hope will be very fruitful discussions over the coming months, starting in Luxembourg the week after next.”

Concluding, the Minister noted his satisfaction to date with this latest round of bilateral discussions with Member State counterparts, which had commenced with Austria in April and has now included the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark and Belgium. Further meetings with other Member States are planned, including with Romania in the context of its forthcoming EU Presidency.

 

ENDS

Date Released: 05 June 2018