Agriculture Minister: CAP talks with Hungary and Poland constructive

HUNGARY and Poland, who will each hold the six-month European Union rotating presidency in 2011, have been briefed on Ireland’s stance on the Common Agricultural Policy.

A blueprint for the reform of the CAP after 2013 is due to be published by the European Commission in November and is expected to dominate much of the discussions in the Council of Agricultural Ministers for much of next year.

As part of a series of meetings with colleagues in other member states, Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Brendan Smith travelled to Budapest and Warsaw this week for discussions with his Hungarian and Polish counterparts. He outlined Ireland’s views on the CAP to Hungarian Rural Development Minister Sandor Fazekas in Budapest and to Poland’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Marek Sawicki in Warsaw.

Speaking after the Budapest meeting, Mr Smith said he was very pleased with the constructive and wide ranging discussions that had taken place.

“Hungary and Ireland have much in common. We both have large agricultural sectors and are both strong defenders of the CAP.

“I emphasised to Minister Fazekas the need for a strong and properly resourced CAP after 2013,” he said. Mr Smith said Irish farm incomes are heavily dependent on the single farm payment and also on rural development payments. Ireland would have serious concerns with a reduction of these payments. Without continued income support, the family farm structure in Europe will be at risk, he said. After his meeting in Warsaw, he said the key context for Ireland is food supply and sustainable management of natural resources, including climate change.

“We want a coherent approach based on family farm structure that focuses on underlining the competitiveness of EU agriculture.

“I am happy to say that Mr Sawicki shared this perspective and I believe we have formed a good basis for further joint work on this vital issue for both our countries,” he said.

The ministers also shared concerns regarding the impact on the agriculture sector of an agreement by the EU with the MERCOSUR group of South American countries.

They also touched on the recommendations of the EU high level group on milk and discussed the possible content of the proposals expected from the commission later in the year.

lMet Éireann has issued the following blight warning: Conditions favouring the spread of potato blight will occur in places this weekend and next week.


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