Written Answers. - Agenda 2000.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

96 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the output losses, premium gains and net financial loss position of the various different agricultural sectors covering beef, dairy, cereals and sheepmeat resulting from the Santer Agenda 2000 proposals to reform the CAP. [8281/98]

Paul Connaughton

Question:

97 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food his views on whether the losses to the Irish agricultural sector, as a result of the Santer Agenda 2000 proposals, are in the order of £260 million annually; and the action or proposals, if any, he intends to put forward to eliminate these losses and protect Ireland's vital national interest in agriculture. [8282/98]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.

The table sets out my Department's estimate of the annual output losses, premium gains and net position for beef, milk and arable crop producers, if the proposals which the European Commission has recently brought forward were implemented in full.

Beef

Milk

Arable Crops

Total

Ir£m

Ir£m

Ir£m

Ir£m

Output losses

-380

-156

-39

-575

Gain on increased premiums

+228

+104

+17

+349

Net loss to producers

-152

-52

-22

-226

These estimates assume that market price reductions will be of the same magnitude as the proposed support-price reductions in the various sectors and use the current central rate of the Irish pound in converting all premium amounts, which are designated in ECUs.
While there are no proposals specific to the sheepmeat sector, the sheepmeat market is likely to be affected by the proposals relating to other sectors. Pigmeat and poultry producers are likely to benefit from the proposed reductions in cereal price-supports.
At yesterday's meeting of the Council of Ministers in Brussels I told Commissioner Fischler and my colleagues in the Council that Ireland would be seriously and disproportionately disadvantaged by these proposals and that they were therefore unacceptable to Ireland. Over the coming months of negotiations I will seek radical amendments to the proposals so that Irish farmers obtain adequate compensation for price reductions and are not disadvantaged in comparison with their counterparts in other member states and the Irish agriculture and food sectors can make the maximum contribution to national wealth and employment. I also asked the Commission to examine the implications of the Agenda 2000 proposals for the sheepmeat sector and to submit a report on these to the Council together with appropriate proposals.