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Minister building allies in Europe on CAP Reform

In preparation for Ireland's Presidency of the EU, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, will travel today on a visit to three European capitals - Berlin, Rome and Budapest for a series of meetings with his German, Italian and Hungarian counterparts, Ilse Aigner, Mario Catania and Sándor Fazekas.  The Minister said "The CAP and CFP reform negotiations will be at a crucial stage in the first six months of next year and it is vitally important that as the incoming presidency we reach a good understanding with other Member States of the key issues for them.  To that end, I will be listening carefully to what my colleagues in these Member States have to say."

The Minister will take the opportunity to convey Ireland's views on the main issues of importance to us in these negotiations.  "I am continuing to build up alliances with other Member States in regard to the key issues of concern to Ireland", the Minister said.  "These meetings today and tomorrow will present an ideal opportunity to seek support for the Irish viewpoint".

The meetings are the latest in a series of bilateral meetings held since the beginning of the year with Ministerial colleagues from Denmark, Cyprus, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, France and the UK.  Minister Coveney has also had a number of recent meetings with the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos and with the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, John Dalli.

The Minister has also intensified his engagement with the European Parliament.    He travelled to Strasbourg earlier this month for a series of engagements with members of the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament, including the chair of the committee and the Parliament rapporteur for two of the main CAP dossiers.  "I am very conscious of the important role that the European Parliament has in the CAP and CFP decision making process.  I have developed a good rapport with leading players in the Parliament and my visit to Strasbourg allowed me to strengthen those relationships."  During the visit to the Parliament, the Minister met MEPs along with the Spanish Minister for Agriculture and a senior Portuguese official in a joint effort to press for greater flexibility for Member States to determine how CAP direct payments are distributed.

Date Released: 23 July 2012