The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD hosted a large group of EU journalists who visited Ireland at the start of its Presidency of the European Union.
The Minister outlined Ireland’s plan for the 6-month Presidency in the agri-food sector. The key priorities will be the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), both of which are of significant importance in shaping the future structure of the agri-food sector in the EU.
In relation to the CAP they will be initially focused on getting agreement at the Council of Ministers, representing all 27 Member States, before progressing to formal negotiations with the Parliament and Commission. He stressed that obviously the issues that remain to be decided are those that have proven most difficult in the negotiations to date, but he was fully committed to leading the Council to an agreement.
The Minister acknowledged that these targets were very ambitious. He emphasised that in order to achieve them, for the CAP in particular, there must be a successful outcome to the discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework as early as possible in 2013, there must be rapid progress on outstanding technical and political issues, and all three institutions (the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission) must engage actively in the negotiating process.
Minister Coveney pointed to the importance of the CAP in providing the appropriate policy framework for growth and development of the agri-food sector across Europe. He stressed the role of the sector in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery, grounded on the principles of sustainability and competitiveness, saying “for the future, the challenge is to produce more to meet the increasing demands for food from a growing world population while at the same time maintaining production methods that are sustainable in all meanings of the word - economically, environmentally and socially”.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine