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Smith Advocates the Need for a Strong and Adequately Funded CAP Post 2013

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, said that it was essential that we maintain a strong agricultural production base in the European Union. The Minister was speaking during a wide-ranging discussion on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) which took place at today's specially convened meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Brussels.

Minister Smith said: "We face daunting challenges ahead in meeting increasing demands for food, in addressing climate change, in reconciling our need to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions with our desire to produce more food, in managing our natural resources and in meeting changes in consumer demands. We must also be mindful of increased market instability and higher risks of animal and plant disease."

In this connection, the Minister warned that any reduction in food production in the EU would be taken up elsewhere where less efficient production systems exist and would result in a heavier carbon footprint. "We must ensure that the EU's policy objectives for the agriculture and food sector are upheld in the Climate Change debate," the Minister said.

The Minister emphasised that there would be a continuing need for an active, and appropriately resourced European agricultural policy to achieve these objectives and to help our farmers and processors adapt to the new and emerging challenges.

The Minister called for the continuation of fixed decoupled payments and to allow Member States sufficient flexibility to reconcile the differing needs of Member States. He also stressed the need for effective rural development programmes which play a key role in regional development and in the protection of the environment and the critical importance of equivalent standards for imports from outside the EU.

Date Released: 28 November 2008