IFA President John Bryan has held discussions with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney in Brussels this morning, where the Minister is chairing the Farm Council for the first time as part of the Irish Presidency of the EU.
The meeting, which was attended by European farming colleagues from COPA and COJECA, took place in the build-up to next week’s Heads of Government summit that will decide the EU Budget for the next seven years. John Bryan re-iterated the importance of securing a fully-funded CAP Budget from 2014-2020.
He said, “Ahead of the Heads of Government meeting, IFA will maintain the maximum pressure for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 11 funding in the next CAP. We will also be insisting that the Irish Government put 50:50 co-financing in place for the new Rural Development Programme”.
John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture should use today’s Farm Council meeting to make a strong case for agricultural spending as part of the overall Budget. “We also need flexibility in the final CAP Reform to ensure the family farm structure in this country is protected in the new Single Farm Payment system.”
Minister Coveney advised the meeting that he was confident of a deal on CAP funding as part of the overall negotiations on the EU Budget next week. Thereafter, the Minister said he hoped to conclude a deal on CAP Reform with the Council of Ministers by the end of March, and with the other institutions, including the European Parliament and the European Commission, by the end of June.
Last week the IFA President met Irish MEPs as part of IFA’s campaign on the CAP Budget.
John Bryan said the main objective must be to build alliances with other Member States that support a well-resourced Common Agricultural Budget. “Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be making a strong case at the Brussels summit next week for the retention of CAP funding. IFA would like to see our MEPs work with their party colleagues in the European Parliament to ensure a strong and unified case for the CAP is made ahead of the summit”.
The IFA President said he had held discussions at Green Week in Berlin with the German Minister for Agriculture Ilse Aigner, who is also strongly supportive of a fully-funded CAP for the next seven years.
John Bryan said, “The CAP budget is worth €11bn to the Irish economy over the next seven years. Securing the Budget is an important part of the framework that is necessary to underpin growth in farming and food up to 2020”.