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Agri-Food Sector Update 7 November 2012

10th May 2011 - Bernard Durkan TD

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the agri-food sector here and throughout the EU will receive the required ongoing support through the common agricultural policy with particular reference to the need to maximise food production potential here and throughout the EU; if he expects this country’s position as a major food producer to be enhanced in the course of such negotiations with specific reference to maximising job opportunities and contributing to economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.

For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 6th November, 2012.

Ref No:     47687/12         Lottery:     11         Proof:     128


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney)
The outcome of negotiations on reform of the Common Agricultural policy will set the context and part of the policy framework for the future development of the agri-food sector in Ireland and across the EU.   In that connection, I welcome the three key principles underpinning the EU Commission’s proposals for reform of the CAP which are to preserve food production potential in the EU, to ensure sustainable management of natural resources and to maintain viable rural areas.   I am satisfied that adherence to these principles will ensure the viability and future development of the food industry in Ireland and throughout Europe.

My own view is that food security in the European Union is the essence of what the new Common Agricultural Policy is about. Growing populations and increasing demand for protein-based foods, which is what we predominantly produce in Ireland through the dairy and meat industries, present a significant opportunity not only to continue, as the EU has been, to promote a sustainable way of producing food from an environmental and climate point of view but also to produce greater volumes of food.   I will continue to make the case for sustainable intensification of food production, which is what agriculture should be all about.

Of course, a strong CAP is contingent on securing an adequate budget to deliver the objectives of that policy.   In this regard, the negotiations to determine the budget for the CAP from 2014 to 2020 are part of wider negotiations that will decide the multiannual financial framework, or MFF, for the EU budget for the period from 2014 to 2020. These negotiations are being conducted under the auspices of the EU General Affairs Council, attended by the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs.   Ultimately decisions on the MFF will be taken by EU Heads of State and Government.   A special meeting of the European Council has been scheduled for November 2012 for this purpose.

The overriding national priority is to safeguard CAP funding to the maximum extent possible, having regard to the reality that CAP accounts for over 80% of Ireland’s total receipts of EU funding, equivalent to about €12 billion over the 2007-2013 period.   We will continue to strongly defend our proposed allocation in the negotiations.   This is a whole of Government position.

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