11 Sep 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily, IFA in Brussels

Improved farmer crisis preparation tools in the future CAP was under discussion at the EU Agriculture Ministers informal Ag Council meeting in Tallinn at the beginning of last week.

Meanwhile, reaction to the Brexit round of talks continued, with the President of the Parliament Antonio Tajani saying it would be difficult to believe sufficient progress can be achieved by October on separation issues in order to progress to Stage 2 of negotiations.

As the latest round of Mercosur negotiations concluded in Brussels, IFA defended the highly sensitive beef sector. This week too, IFA President Joe Healy was proposed to stand for election as Vice President in the upcoming COPA Presidency elections.


IFA addressed a Fine Gael Brexit delegation led by Martin Heydon TD and coordinated by Sean Kelly MEP.

The group conducted a series of meetings in Parliament, at the Commission and with their EPP colleagues in Brussels.

Ireland needs to continue its active diplomacy garnering support from other Member States who also rely on significant food and drink exports to the UK. The softening of the UK Labour position was viewed as an indication of where a solution might lie although Mr. Barnier has described the need to teach citizens in the UK the true cost of leaving the Customs Union & the Single Market.

In speaking to the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington David Davis considered joining Norway and Switzerland as a temporary member of the European Free Trade Association which would avoid an economic cliff edge following Brexit. Despite progress on the Ireland issue, the Commission insist that the Irish border will not be a test case for other EU third country borders.

For Brexit updates from Brussels click here


DG Trade negotiators and the Mercosur Chief Negotiators concluded their round of talks in Brussels with a public update to registered attendees. Chief Brazilian negotiator Ronaldo Costa Filho commented that he had “never seen such a commonality of purpose” which supports Chief EU Negotiator Sandra Gallina’s view that they were on track for a final round of talks at the end of November which could lead to a possible end deal. An exchange of offers is thus likely in October.

IFA repeated that an offer at this time on Beef was not appropriate bearing in mind the outcome of the Commission’s JRC report on the cumulative impact study of future trade deals on Agriculture which identified beef as one of the sensitive sectors most at risk. IFA argued that the currency effects of Brexit are costing Irish livestock farmers €2m per week and while DG Trade will push for a complete deal, any level of import quota for Mercosur beef will be damaging to Ireland and IFA have insisted that none should be granted.

Sandra Gallina will address the COPA Praesidium on Thursday afternoon 21st September. A delegation led by IFA President Joe Healy along with Chairman of the beef committee Angus Woods will meet with Trade Commissioner Malmström’s Cabinet representatives to discuss Mercosur next week.

Informal Agriculture Council

The Ministers for Agriculture concluded that the current CAP is not prepared enough for times of crisis and that tools were needed to improve farmer readiness for times of crisis.

The crisis reserve system has to be revised and that the implementation of the system needs to be faster and more flexible. Ministers agreed that direct supports have an important role in securing stable income within agriculture, mirroring the importance Commissioner Hogan has previously attached to direct supports. Informal Council results here

Commission Investigation into Anti-dumping Measures for Ammonium Nitrate from Russia    

Over 20 individual Farming Associations including IFA, the French FNSEA, the German DBV and the National Council of Agriculture Chambers of Poland have registered as Interested Parties to the DG Trade investigation. More information here

European People’s Party (EPP) views on CAP

The EPP launched their opinion on CAP seeking strong, sustainable and innovative agriculture. The document was supported by EPP President, Joseph Daul (France), French MEP Michel Dantin and German Minister of Food & Agriculture Christian Schmidt and highlighted the need for a well-funded CAP.

European Parliament vote on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry(LULUCF) report

Following discussions at the COPA Working Group on Environment, lobbying of MEPs will focus on the vote of German MEP Norbert Lins draft report on LULUCF Regulation. COPA is seeking MEP support for the amendment to delete the unnecessary restriction regarding forest harvest intensity from Article 8.3. For forests to remain viable (and EU forests absorb the equivalent of almost 10% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions), forests must be allowed to be managed sustainably for their future viability. The vote takes place on Wednesday 13th September.

Next Up

Today, Monday, IFA will participate in discussions on CAP organised by the Dutch Farmers’ Association (LTO).

President Juncker will deliver the EU State of the Union Address on Wednesday 13th September

European Parliament vote on LULUCF draft report on Wednesday 13th September

On Thursday discussions at the Tax & Legal Workshop will focus on COPA’s draft response to the Public Consultation on the Food Chain.

IFA President will meet with the DG Trade Deputy Head of Cabinet to discuss the status of Mercosur negotiations.


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