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Minister Smith meets EU Agriculture and Trade Commissioners

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith will have meetings today (Monday) with the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos and the Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht.

The Minister is having discussions with the Agriculture Commissioner about the future direction of the Common Agriculture Policy after 2013.  He will convey to the Commissioner Ireland's vision for a strong and properly funded CAP after 2013 and the need for continued income support to preserve the family farm structure of European agriculture.  The Minister said "I will emphasise that we support direct payments as the best means of income support for family farms and we do not favour further co-funding or modulation.  We are also opposed to an EU flat rate given the range of agricultural conditions, costs and incomes in EU".

Minister Smith will also raise with the Commissioner the recent re-launch of trade negotiations with MERCOSUR.  He will also have a separate meeting on this issue with Trade Commissioner De Gucht.  "I will be expressing the concerns of the Irish Government with the decision to re-launch these negotiations. I will bring to the attention of both Commissioners the serious losses that might ensue for the EU agricultural sector as a result of these negotiations" the Minister said.

Minister Smith is in Brussels to attend today's meeting of the Agriculture Council of Ministers.  The main item for discussion at the Council is the report of the High Level Group on Milk, set up last year to look at medium term prospects for the milk sector in the light of expiry of milk quotas.  The Minister will welcome the contents of the report, notably the acknowledgement of the value of continued market supports and the recognition in the report of the need to safeguard the proper functioning of the single market.


Date Released: 12 July 2010