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Coveney Comments on CAP Reform Proposals

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, commented today on the legal proposals presented by the European Commission on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.  The Minister said "It is good that the legal proposals are finally on the table and that we can now get down to the real work of decision-making to establish the policy framework for EU agriculture in the years ahead".  The Minister said that a great deal of work had already been done by Ireland in the lead up to the proposals but that the negotiations now moved to another level.

"While there are some positives in the proposals from an Irish perspective, there were also aspects that I am not happy with.  The priority for me is to retain Irish agriculture funding and to ensure that we have a strong and effective CAP which will support our ambitions for the sector as set out most recently in Food Harvest 2020: Milestones for Success.  The proposed redistribution of funds between Member States largely protect our pillar 1 funding - and closely reflect proposals made by Ireland in the earlier discussions - but a threat still hangs over our funding for rural development. I am determined to fight to retain our CAP funds."

"I am also concerned that the greening and basic payment structures could lead to disruptive change in payments to farmers in Ireland.  I want greater flexibility for member states to shape their own payment models and I have been very active in building alliances around this idea with other Member States".  The Minister said that "greening" in itself was not a threat, and if properly done, without excessive red tape, could support our plans for smart, green growth in Irish agriculture.

The Minister noted that these proposals are complex and detailed.  "It will take some time for farmers and other interested parties to digest them in full and form a coherent view on them".  The Minister said that there are points of detail on which clarification will be required.  "I will ensure that the fullest information is made available and I will be encouraging a very active debate on these proposals in Ireland in order to inform my detailed position in the negotiations".

The Minister stressed that at this stage they are proposals only, not final texts.  Negotiations will be taking place at political and technical level over the next year and more and it is highly likely that the current texts will be significantly altered before final agreement is reached.

"The outcome of our discussions will be hugely important for Irish farmers and the agri-food industry and my officials and I will be engaging actively and intensively in the discussions ahead.  We will continue to build up our alliances with like-minded Member States to achieve our priority objectives."

Minister Coveney said that he would be making a full statement on the matter in the Dail tomorrow Thursday 13 October.

Date Released: 12 October 2011