AT least 10 other European Union member states yesterday backed Ireland’s position on the milk market crisis at a meeting in Luxembourg.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Brendan Smith, who raised the issue at a Council of Ministers meeting, outlined the difficult situation facing milk producers, as a result of low market returns.
A statement from his office later said Mr Smith requested strong and continued support from the commission using all appropriate market management measures available.
“The minister’s position was strongly supported by at least 10 Smith requested strong and continued support from the commission using all appropriate market management measures available.
“The minister’s position was strongly supported by at least 10.”
“There was very strong support for his request that intervention and export refunds be fully exploited to support the market.”
The statement said the council also committed itself to continuing the process of the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy and the reduction of bureaucracy.
“The discussion on this issue at the council centred on a paper submitted from a group of countries including Ireland setting out a range of simplification proposals.
“These will be subject to further discussions in the coming months,” the statement said.
Mr Smith also confirmed yesterday that on-farm nitrate inspections will be undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Fears had arisen that a further set of inspections would be conducted by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government under new regulations. The prospect of duplicated inspections was criticised by the farm lobby and by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Mr Smith said arrangements are being finalised to ensure that cross-compliance inspections undertaken by his department will meet the Department of the Environment requirements under the new measures.
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