Written answers

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Department of Agriculture and Food

Common Agricultural Policy

6:00 am

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 152: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his views on the way in which greater simplification can be brought to the common agricultural policy in the context of the post-2013 negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3691/10]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Minister, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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I want to see simplification of measures and systems as a key plank in the CAP after 2013. I must be absolutely clear that this is about increased efficiency and does not involve any weakening of financial controls or reduced accountability. However, I believe there is too much bureaucracy and complexity in the CAP at present. Everyone, and most of all farmers, wants to see a CAP that is much more straightforward to understand and implement. This should be one of the drivers of our policy deliberations on the CAP after 2013. We need a simple EU agricultural policy – simple to justify to EU taxpayers, simple for farmers to understand and operate and simple for member states to implement and enforce.

I have been pressing the need for policy simplification for some time. I raised it at last month's Council of Ministers meeting and I was pleased with the level of support received from colleagues. I also want to see more in the way of technical simplification coming from Brussels. A good start was made last year when some 39 concrete suggestions from member states for simplification were brought to the Council's attention. I was satisfied with the positive and open response of the Commission to the suggestions, many of which either came from or were supported by Ireland and I will do my utmost to ensure that these initiatives continue.

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