I attended the Informal meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Schloss Hof near Vienna, Austria on 24 September 2018, where I had the opportunity to further discuss the CAP post 2020 with my colleagues. Informal Council meetings do not reach formal agreed conclusions.
The theme of the discussion was "Shaping the future of vital rural areas and quality food production in the European Union", and focused on how the CAP could support farmers to produce high quality food in a competitive and sustainable way that generates an adequate income and how the CAP supports multifunctionality and the family farm.
The multi-functionality of the agriculture sector means it is contributing to a lot of different objectives and all of these are needed. At the informal Council I highlighted that farmers need to generate adequate farm income and they must also be properly supported for the public goods they deliver on. All of this will require a CAP Strategic Plan that is balanced and best meets local needs.
However, none of this can be properly achieved without the adequate support. My position on the budget remains firm and I believe that now is not the time to cut funding.
With regard to monitoring compliance, I am supportive of the move to a performance based model and we will need time to put in place changes in systems and reporting. This new framework must be based on system which provides simplification for all.
When it comes to tackling crises, I believe this will be one of the priority issues for consideration in the next CAP. I welcome the proposal which maintains the current suite of market interventions. It is important to maintain a strong framework to underpin market stability and protect producers.
The negotiations on the CAP Post 2020 proposals are ongoing and I will continue to engage with all parties involved to ensure the best possible outcome for Ireland's agricultural sector as they progress.