Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (534)

Brendan Smith

Question:

534. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the issues discussed at the recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council; if he put forward specific proposals on the need to provide adequate assistance to the agrifood sector due to the adverse impacts of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26307/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Minister Doyle attended the most recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council which took place in Luxembourg on 18 June 2019. Ministers exchanged views on three key items:-

- A partial general approach was reached by the Council on the Commission proposal for the next European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The fund is worth €6.14 billion and its aim is to invest in the maritime economy and support fishing communities. This item was held in public session. The new EMFF is part of the multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027, the new EU long-term budget that enters into force on 1 January 2021.

- The Commission communication on the state of play of the Common Fisheries Policy and consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2020. The discussion is part of the process for reaching agreement on TACs and quotas at the December Council.

- Post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy reform package: progress report. The Council discussed in public session, the Romanian Presidency progress report on the work carried out in the Council and its preparatory bodies on all the Commission proposals of the CAP reform package, which includes regulations on CAP strategic plans, financing, management and monitoring of the CAP, and the common organisation of agricultural products. Under this item, the Spanish Minister informed Council of the outcome of the CAP Green Architecture post-2020 Congress "Digging deeper into Eco-Schemes", which was held in Spain at the end of May.

In addition, under Any Other Business, the Lithuanian delegation provided an update on the scientific advice recently published by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) on the state of the cod stock in the Eastern Baltic Sea.

While Brexit was not discussed at Council, I have discussed the impact it will have on our agri-food sector on many occasions with my Ministerial colleagues. Minister Doyle did however, reference, the potential impact a Mercosur trade deal will have on our beef sector, and called on the EU to remain vigilant as the negotiations progress, with a view to protecting the EU agriculture sector as much as possible.