Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Questions (415)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

415. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the bilateral meetings he has had with his EU counterparts over the past six months regarding Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41196/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As part of my ongoing efforts to ensure that my EU counterparts are fully aware of Ireland's concerns about the impact of Brexit on the agri-food and fisheries sectors, as well as ensuring that they understand our 'asks' from the EU/UK negotiations, I have engaged extensively with Member States since the UK referendum in June 2016. These engagements include formal bilateral meetings in capitals and in the margins of EU Council of Agriculture Minister meetings as well as regular, more informal, contacts around Council meetings. In the last six months these engagements have included:

- on April 16 I met the Danish Minister for Fisheries, Ms. Karen Ellemann, in the margins of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg;

- I also met the Austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism, Ms. Elisabeth Köstinger in the margins of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on April 16;

- on April 25 I met the Dutch Minister for Agriculture, Ms. Cornelia Schouten, in The Hague;

- on 2 May I met the French Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Stéphane Travert, in Paris;

- I also met the German Minister for Agriculture, Ms. Julia Klöckner, in Berlin on 2 May;

- on 5 June I met the Belgian Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Denis Ducarme, in the margins of the Informal Meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria; and

- I also met the Danish Minister for the Environment and Food, Mr. Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, in the margins of the Informal Meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Sofia on 5 June.

In each of these bilateral meetings I have apprised the Ministers of the current position on the negotiations from an Irish perspective, as well as assessing the degree to which they are likely to continue supporting our efforts to have the agri-food and fisheries impacts of Brexit adequately taken account of in the negotiations.

On June 13 I met the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr. Michael Gove, at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London.

In addition I chair a meeting of the European Peoples Party before each Council of Ministers meeting, during which the issue of Brexit is discussed.

I also attended the most recent Informal Council meeting in Schloss Hof in Lower Austria on 23 September where I had informal discussions with many of my colleagues on Brexit.

Further meetings are planned over the coming months, including with Romania, who will take over the Presidency of the EU in January 2019.