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Coveney in Paris and Strasbourg lobbying hard on CAP

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, travelled to Paris yesterday for a meeting with his newly-appointed French counterpart, Stephane le Foll.  The Ministers had an in-depth discussion on the current proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.  After the meeting the Minister said, "I was very pleased with today's discussion.  Traditionally, Ireland and France have adopted similar positions in regard to the CAP and today's meeting shows that these shared ambitions still hold true."

The Ministers' discussions touched on the likely outcome of the Multiannual Financial Framework negotiations for the next EU budget and the implications of these negotiations for the CAP reform process.  The Ministers then exchanged views on the key issues in the CAP reform negotiations, including the allocation of CAP funding between Member States, the distribution of that funding within Member States and the proposals to improve the green credentials of the CAP.

Both Ministers agreed on the importance of EU agriculture and its contribution to growth and they pledged their support for a strong and properly financed CAP in the future.  They agreed on the need for some rebalancing in the allocation of CAP funds between Member States and stressed that this rebalancing should take into account payments under both CAP pillars.

The Ministers were also agreed that the Commission's proposal to move to a single flat rate of payment within each Member State or region by 2019 was too radical and risked penalising more productive farmers.  Speaking after the meeting Minister Coveney said "We had a good discussion on this issue.  Ireland's priority is to obtain as much flexibility as possible for Member States with regard to payment models and transitional arrangements.  We would envisage an approximation model that would go part but not all of the way towards convergence and would limit the gains and losses for individual farmers. The logic used for redistribution between Member States could easily be applied to internal redistribution."

As to improving the green credentials of the Single Payment, the Minister said neither he nor Minister Le Foll had an argument with the principle but there were difficulties with the Commission proposal, both in terms of the three greening criteria proposed and its effect on the Single Payment rate.

Minister Coveney travelled on to Strasbourg for a series of meetings today with MEPs including the Irish members of the Committee on Agriculture, Mairead McGuinness and Liam Aylward.  Together with his Spanish counterpart, Miguel Arias Canete, he met the Chairman of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, Paolo De Castro and the Parliament's rapporteur for the Direct Payments and Rural Development dossiers, Luis Capoulas Santos, as well as a number of other MEPs active in the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament.

PARIS1PR13912 - 04.07.2012  PARIS213912 - 04.07.2012 PARIS313912 - 04.07.2012

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine and Stephane le Foll, Minister for Agriculture and Agri Food, in Paris last evening to discuss the Irish Presidency and reform of CAP.

Date Released: 04 July 2012