Thursday, 26 April 2018
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations
45. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps is he taking at EU level to build support for a fully funded CAP post 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18296/18]
The future of CAP is an issue of enormous importance for the agriculture sector in Ireland and across Europe. The CAP has evolved considerably and very effectively in recent years, in response to changing market, consumer and environmental demands. It also plays a central role in delivering the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth sought under the Europe 2020 strategy.
It is important that the CAP continues to evolve in a way that supports the achievement of European priorities, particularly in the context of securing a strong CAP budget for the post 2020 period. This can only be achieved by reinforcing the relevance and effectiveness of the policy in helping to achieve broader societal goals. This is something that I strongly believe in and will continue to actively pursue at Council level as the debate on the future CAP and its budget intensifies over the coming months.
There will be budgetary challenges, arising not only from the UK decision to exit the EU, but also from the need to address other EU policy challenges, such as those relating to migration, security and growth. In that regard, the CAP should not be seen as a policy of the past and is already addressing some of these “new challenges”.
The Taoiseach, in his address to the European Parliament in January 2018, has already indicated that Ireland is open to contributing more to the EU budget, but only if it is spent on policies that contribute to the advancement of the European ideal.
More clarity will be provided next Wednesday, the 2 May 2018 when the European Commission publish their MFF proposals.
I regularly meet with my European ministerial colleagues at the monthly Council of EU Agriculture Ministers. These meetings give me the opportunity to discuss future CAP policy and funding. Since July of last year, I have bilaterally met with the French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert on three separate occasions, with the main focus of discussion being CAP post 2020. In addition, during the first half of 2017, I held an intensive round of bilateral meetings with my counterparts in key Member States, and I am repeating this process currently.
My officials have and will continue to engage with officials in all Member States with whom we have a deep and long lasting relationship. In particular, my officials engage on a regular basis with their counterparts in other Member States through a G6 meetings which includes the Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria and ourselves.
The next stage of in the CAP post 2020 process will be the publication of the legislative proposals, which are due on 29 May 2018. In that context, I look forward to engaging constructively with the Presidency, my European counterparts and the European Commission, to ensure that the next CAP continues to provide necessary support to the Irish and European agriculture sector.
From my understanding this matter was not one of the agenda items raised at the recent European Council meeting. However Ireland's position on the need for a well funded CAP is well understood at institutional level and by other Member States in the European Union. In his address to the European Parliament in January 2018, the Taoiseach indicated that Ireland is open to contributing more to the EU budget, but only if it is spent on policies that contribute to the advancement of the European ideal. I consider CAP to be one such policy.
It is however worth noting that not all Member States are in favour of increasing their contributions to the overall EU budget, so upcoming budget negotiations will be difficult. Further clarity will be provided shortly when the MFF proposals are published by the Commission on 2 May 2018.
However I wish to assure the Deputy that I have argued and will continue to do so at the Council of Agriculture Ministers for as strong a CAP budget as possible post 2020.