An intensive schedule of trilogue discussions with the European Parliament and EU Commission commenced on 11th April 2013. Up to today 11 trilogues have taken place; three each on direct payments and rural development, four on the single CMO and one on the horizontal and financial management proposal. As holders of the Presidency, Ireland is representing the EU Council of Ministers in these negotiations.
On the Direct Payments dossier, we have now had a run though of the proposals for the basic payment scheme including the various options for internal convergence, the national reserve and the redistributive payment. We have also discussed the scope and definitions, the provisions on active farmers, coupled support and the schemes for young farmers and small farmers. On Monday, we started looking at the provisions on capping and flexibility between pillars.
As to the single CMO, we have looked at the introductory provisions, trade issues and the school schemes. We have also commenced examination of specific sectoral rules starting with olive oil, hops, apiculture, fruit and vegetables and wine as well as the PDO and PGI provisions. Yesterday there was a first discussion on market intervention, exceptional measures and the crisis reserve.
Moving to rural development, we have had a first discussion on the objectives and priorities and have started a more detailed discussion on the individual measures.
Finally, we have examined general and financial management provisions in the Horizontal Regulation.
The first trilogues have taken place in a very constructive and positive atmosphere, with working methods agreed, technical issues identified for further examination and initial discussions taking place on more difficult political points. These trilogues are continuing with the target of achieving inter-institutional agreement by the end of June 2013. I am aware that this is a very challenging time frame and will require intense efforts by all parties to the negotiation.
On the basis that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, I can tell you that to date we have adhered to the general approach agreed by the Council of Agriculture Ministers in March. On many issues, the Council position is at the centre of the negotiations but there are areas where the Council is isolated and may have to move if common ground is to be found. I have established informal contacts with the Chair of the European Parliament Agriculture Committee and the EU Commissioner with a view to identifying the scope for acceptable compromises on some of the more intractable political issues. In addition, I will be using next week’s meeting of the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels and the informal Agriculture Council meeting scheduled to take place in Dublin at the end of the month to explore with Member State colleagues possible landing zones in key areas of difference.