To date, 18 meetings of EU committees and working groups relating to my Department's area of responsibility have been chaired by my officials. In addition, I am today meeting both the agriculture and rural development committee and the environment, public health and consumer policy committee of the European Parliament in Brussels to set out my programme of work for the Irish Presidency and to have an exchange of views. That programme is included in the published programme of the Irish Presidency of the European Union which was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 18 December 2003. The specific objectives I have identified for our Presidency are: to facilitate the application of the CAP to the new member states; to continue the process of simplification of the CAP initiated by the mid-term review decisions of June 2003; and to enhance food safety standards
Progress in advancing the Presidency work programme has been satisfactory.