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Minister Coughlan meets her French and German counterparts in Paris

- WTO and Simplification Discussed -

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., met over the weekend in Paris with the French Agriculture Minister Mr Dominique Bussereau and with the German Agriculture Minister Mr Horst Seehofer. Minister Coughan was in Paris at the invitation of the French Minister on the occasion of the International Agriculture Show, which opened in Paris on Saturday. Minister Coughlan as well as attending the show had a working dinner in the Agriculture Ministry with Minister Bussereau and a number of other Ministers.

Minister Coughlan discussed developments in relation to WTO with both French and German Ministers. She also raised the issue of simplification of EU controls. She said she was particularly pleased to have the opportunity of discussing this matter with the German Minister who currently holds the Presidency of the Agriculture Council. Minister Coughlan has raised this matter at EU level on numerous occasions and in the context of the simplification proposals currently being dealt with in Brussels, she has made it clear that the process must result in lessening the burden of bureaucracy on Irish farmers.

"Simplification for farmers has to be part of the overall decoupling process and given that the rules for on farm controls are set at EU level, it is incumbent on the Commission to make the necessary adjustments to the requirements which it sets for Member States. This is particularly the case in relation to the Commission rules for advance notice of inspections for farmers" the Minister said.

Minister Coughlan indicated that the Commission was in the process of preparing a report on the on farm simplification process which is due to go to Council in March and she had made very clear her wishes in this regard. She used the opportunity presented in Paris to gain support for her position and would continue to do so over the coming weeks.

While at the Agriculture show, Minister Coughlan also met President Chirac who referred to the long-standing co-operation between France and Ireland on matters relating to agriculture, the CAP and international trade. They both agreed that this level of cooperation would continue and both countries would work closely in relation to WTO talks.

5 March, 2007

Date Released: 05 March 2007