Since the Council of Agriculture Ministers agreed the general approach of the Council on 19 March last, negotiations have moved to the final phase with so-called trilogue discussions between the three EU institutions. We have therefore moved from a narrower focus on the finalisation of a Council position to the point where the Council position is itself just one of three different perspectives being brought to the table.
Typically, this represents the final phase of negotiations in areas where the European Parliament has a co-decision role. Indeed, this is the first time that the Parliament has had such a role in relation to a CAP reform package. As President of the Council, Ireland is representing Member States in these negotiations with the Parliament and the Commission.
I am happy to report that progress has been very good so far. The trilogues have been held in a very positive, constructive atmosphere. All of the institutions have responded to the Presidency’s call for a collaborative endeavour, and for a spirit of compromise to inform the process. Good progress has been made on a substantial number of technical issues and we are now in the “end-game” where we are considering the important and politically sensitive points.
I said from the start of the Irish Presidency that the final target for political agreement was the end of June. It is clear that the European Parliament and the Commission are committed to achieving this objective. The Member States have also demonstrated their commitment, and as President of the Council of Ministers, I intend to do all I can to ensure that the deadline is met.
I need to be clear however that the timeline for political agreement by end June is extremely tight and ambitious. It can only be achieved with a fair wind and an exceptional effort by all three institutions.