The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney will chair the first meeting of Ireland’s Presidency of the Agri/Fish Council on Monday 28 January. The overarching theme of the Irish Presidency is promotion of stability, growth and jobs. In that regard, the sectoral policy priorities in the agriculture and fisheries areas are aimed at creating the conditions for renewed and sustainable economic growth in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
This will be a one day Council and Minister Coveney will present the priorities for Agriculture and Fisheries and the work programme for the 6 months ahead. As expected the Reform of the Common Agriculture Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy will feature high on the agenda.
My overall vision is to help create modern and competitive fisheries and agriculture sectors which are vital not only for jobs and growth, but also for sustainable, long-term global food security.
The Minister will present a roadmap for further negotiations on the two dossiers. The plan is to obtain a full Council position on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy by the end of February and of the Common Agricultural Policy by the end of March. With the European Parliament set to take definitive positions on the Common Fisheries Policy in February and on the Common Agricultural Policy by mid-March, this will allow for the opening of trilogue negotiations in the second half of the Irish Presidency with a view to obtaining full political agreement between all three institutions by the end of June.
The Minister acknowledged that progress on the CAP reform, in particular, was dependent on early agreement being reached by Heads of State and Government on the next EU multiannual financial framework for the EU budget. Nevertheless, he said that from bilateral meetings he had held over the last number of months with other Member States, it was clear that Ministers were looking to Ireland to secure a deal on both reforms.
An exchange of views on the key priorities and timing on the CFP Reform Package will be taken in the morning where Minister Coveney will be seeking support for his objective of achieving political agreement. Other important areas to be discussed at this Council include technical and control measures in the Skagerrak and the outcome of recent negotiations in Ireland between the EU and Norway. A lunchtime discussion will also be held on the issue of institutional competencies with regard to multi-annual management plans.
In the afternoon Minister Coveney will present the CAP Reform roadmap followed by an exchange of views.