The EU moved closer to an Irish deal on CAP reform at this week’s informal meeting of agriculture ministers in Dublin. After the meeting, Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, said he was more optimistic that “we can have a political accord on CAP reform in June.”
He said ministers truly got into a spirit of compromise and a sign of openness in trusting the Irish Presidency to find the best deal.
CAP discussions were frank and to the point between Ministers and MEPs, said George Lyon MEP. He said he can see possible solutions emerging, and that all sides want a June deal, before the Irish presidency ends.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the Parliament’s positive response to his invitation to speak directly to ministers.
“For the first time, the European Parliament engaged in direct discussions with agriculture ministers on important issues that are of concern to us all.” he said.
“They did so in a very open and constructive way, which I and my member state colleagues warmly welcomed. And that in turn facilitated a very useful and comprehensive Council debate, informed directly by the points arising from the discussion with the Parliament.”
He said it is clear that all three institutions — ministers, commission and parliament — remain firmly focused on achieving agreement by the end of the Irish Presidency.
Roger Waite, spokesman for Commissioner Ciolos, predicted the issue of internal convergence will remain difficult, and it will go down to the wire at the end of June.
He confirmed there was no majority in favour of moving towards a flat-rate farm payment, but said it is impossible to justify payments on what was produced using historical references going back to the start of the century.
“All sides will have to compromise, and those who have most problems with it will have to show some flexibility,” Mr Waite said.
IFA President John Bryan warned that Commissioner Ciolos wants a mandatory minimum payment, which would be hugely damaging for Irish agriculture, causing a serious loss in output, jobs and exports for the Irish economy.
He said the CAP reform must support active, productive farmers; any other result would represent political failure by Minister Coveney.
The IFA President met Commissioner Ciolos this week, and said afterwards, “The Commissioner is refusing to accept the decision reached in March by the Farm Council and is intent on pushing through a set of proposals that is deeply flawed and ultimately will be a step back in the development of our agricultural sector.”
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