Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (28)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

28. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the engagement his Department has with the revision of the Common Agricultural Policy; and the process by which the EU Council of Ministers will address the design of the new CAP system. [51157/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The new regulations for the CAP 2021-27 were launched on Friday 1 June 2018 by Commissioner Hogan. The proposals, as drafted, involve significant changes, including in relation to governance, the distribution of direct payments among farmers and the increasing environmental conditionality attaching to such payments. Ireland will work constructively on the CAP proposals with the European Commission and other EU Member States in an effort to reach agreement on the proposals.

These are complex proposals and an intensive and challenging negotiation is underway. In preparing for these negotiations I have undertaken a number of actions in considering the CAP proposals to date.

These actions include:-

- an eight week public consultation process on the future of the CAP post 2020 which took place earlier this year. As part of that process, I along with Minister Doyle attended a total of six public meetings held in various locations around the country. One of the most common themes emerging from the consultation process was the need for a strong CAP budget.

- In July, I also hosted a seminar on the new CAP legislative proposals for interested stakeholders, including farm bodies, state agencies and the environmental pillar. The outcome from the public consultation process and the stakeholder conference is feeding into the Department’s on-going analysis and policy response to the proposals.

Consideration of the CAP proposals is ongoing at EU level. The Austrian Presidency outlined an intensive programme of Working Party meetings to discuss specific aspects of the CAP proposals for the duration of its Presidency. To date more than 20 Working Group meetings have taken place with further meetings scheduled into the middle of December. This process will support the Presidency to find areas of agreement amongst the Member States.

The CAP Post 2020 proposals are discussed at the Special Committee of Agriculture meetings on a regular basis. In addition, CAP post 2020 has also been a standing agenda item at every Agri-Fish Council meeting. I have discussed the CAP proposals extensively with my Agriculture Ministerial colleagues at Council, most recently on 19 November.

The negotiations for the CAP post 2020 are still ongoing and I will continue to seek to secure the best possible outcome for the Irish agri-food sector.