The Commission's detailed proposals in implementation of the agricultural elements of Agenda 2000, or the Santer Package, which were published in July 1997, are not expected to be finalised by the Commission until mid to late March 1998. Any comments by me on leaks or speculation about the content of the proposals would be inappropriate.
Since July 1997, the Agenda 2000 proposals were discussed by the Council of Ministers on a number of occasions leading to the adoption in November 1997 of a common approach to agriculture in the European Union which was subsequently endorsed by the European Council meeting in Luxembourg in December 1997. I was in a position to support that approach and conclusions as outlined.
In the discussions at Council and also in bilateral discussions I have outlined my concerns in regard to the Agenda 2000 proposals and I indicated the principles which are important for Irish agriculture and for my support for any package of reform.
My overriding concern will be to protect the interests of Irish agriculture in the forthcoming negotiations on the detailed proposals.