IRELAND has welcomed a commitment to the future of the Common Agriculture Policy by 22 European Union farm ministers at a meeting in Paris.
The commitment culminated in an agreed declaration on the EU’s future common agriculture and food policy.
France convened the Paris meeting to discuss the future of the CAP, but Britain, Denmark, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden were not originally invited.
The countries represented, including Ireland, were those which had supported a call by France and Germany in October for stronger measures to support dairy farmers.
French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire insisted the talks were not turned against anyone. “It is normal that states that share the same ambition for the CAP can come together to reflect on its future,” he said.
The meeting was in part a reaction to a leaked European Commission document on the parameters for the next financial perspective, which foresaw a substantial reduction in the CAP budget.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Brendan Smith said the agreed declaration stresses the need for a strong CAP after 2013 and a budget commensurate with its central role in the future development of the EU.
It emphasises the importance of a common, continent-wide policy that addresses food security issues, recognises the need to maintain family farming in Europe, fosters competitiveness and innovation and also delivers public goods, including those related to climate change.
“The declaration reinforces my determination to robustly defend the principles of the CAP in the forthcoming negotiations, and seek to secure sufficient resources to preserve the principles of solidarity, support for primary production, food security, food quality and food safety,” he said.
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