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Dairy Markets top list of issues discussed in Paris between Minister Smith and French Minister

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today met with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire in Paris to discuss measures to assist dairy farmers. The Ministers welcomed the decision to hold a special meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers on 5 October to discuss measures to support the sector.  Ireland and France had sought such a meeting.  Both Ministers called on the EU Commission to increase the level and scope of export refunds and to continue to apply all available market support measures.

"France and Ireland are traditionally close in EU agriculture discussions and this is also true in relation to the need for strong action to support dairy farmers at the present time. It is gratifying and reassuring to have such a strong ally on this key issue for Irish farmers", said Minister Smith. 

Ireland and France are joint signatories to a set of detailed proposals to support the sector.  Support for this plan has been growing steadily in recent weeks, and eighteen other EU member States have now also supported it. "I recognise that the Commission has been quick to deploy aid to private storage, intervention and export refunds to support the sector to date", the Minister said, "but the fact is that these measures, while stabilising the market, have proved insufficient to lift the market, and we now need to act on the proposals from a large and growing number of Member States".

Ministers Smith and Le Maire also discussed the future of the Common Agriculture Policy after 2013. Minister Smith said "The negotiations on the future of the CAP are of course absolutely vital for Irish farmers and it is important for us to have a good understanding of the positions of France and other Member States.  For my part, I was concerned to convey to my French colleague our view that a strong and well-resourced CAP is more important than ever to support sustainable European agriculture and to ensure a secure supply of high-quality food to European consumers.  I believe that we are of like mind on this objective".  Negotiations on the new CAP are expected to intensify in 2010.

Minister Smith said that he had also raised the issue of climate change with Minister Le Maire in the run up to the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December.  "The world faces the twin challenges of doubling food production and dealing with climate change at the same time.  This presents a tremendous challenge and I believe it is very important that everyone recognises the special role of agriculture and forestry in coping with these two global objectives.  I was glad to have this opportunity to share our views with Minister Le Maire on these two critically important issues for the future of mankind".

The Ministers discussed a number of other issues, including the need to further simplify the CAP.

The Minister also took the opportunity to launch a new interactive Bord Bia website promoting Irish beef in France.

Note for Editor - See attachment note from 20 countries on milk.

Joint Statement on the situation of the European Dairy Market (doc 27Kb) 


Date Released: 24 September 2009