The Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 - 2027 proposals which were published on 2 May 2018 are detailed and complex and will require careful study in preparation for the detailed discussions that will begin shortly. The proposals will be under-pinned by even more detailed legislative proposals in each of the sectoral areas.
The CAP is and will continue to be a key policy of strategic national interest for Ireland. It is important that the EU continues to fund programmes that work and work well. Expenditure in the area of agriculture helps support 44 million jobs across the EU, while contributing to European Added Value (EAV) through rural sustainability, food safety, animal welfare, and environmental standards.
I have consistently called for a strong CAP budget post 2020. Key to ensuring that as strong a CAP budget as possible is delivered, is to establish alliances with like minded Member States where possible. In that context, I have held formal bilateral meetings with my EU Agriculture Ministerial counterparts since January 2018. The shape of the CAP Post 2020 was a significant feature at each of the meetings. Recent meetings with the German and French Agriculture Ministers on 2nd and 3rd May respectively, coincided with the publication of the MFF proposals on 2 May. These meetings gave me the opportunity to outline my concerns the MFF proposals will have on the CAP. Additional meetings are scheduled to take place with my counterparts from Poland, Romania and Belgium in the coming weeks.
In addition to these formal bilateral meetings, I regularly meet my EU Ministerial colleagues at the monthly Agri-Fish Council meetings, and will have a further opportunity to discuss the future of the CAP at the forthcoming informal Council meeting in Sofia on 5 June with a further Council scheduled for Luxembourg on 18 June. I also keep in regular contact with Commissioner Hogan and his officials and met with him recently in Dublin on 26 April.
My Department officials are also having regular and constructive engagement with their EU counterparts.
It is important to state that the MFF proposals are the first stage in a complex negotiation. A number of member states have already indicated that they are not willing to provide additional own resources to the EU Budget. Ultimately the MFF will must be agreed by Member States and the European Parliament and therefore this will be an extremely difficult process.
Both I and my Department officials will continue to work closely with other Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament to ensure adequate resource allocations and to achieve the best possible outcome for Ireland’s agriculture sector in the next programming period.