Irish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine to update Agriculture Ministers on CAP reform negotiations as talks with the European Parliament and the Commission get under way. In the afternoon, he will also will update Fisheries Ministers on the progress being made by the Irish Presidency in the challenge of securing agreement on CFP Reform.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, will chair the fourth meeting of the Agri/Fish Council under the Irish Presidency on Monday next, 22 April, in Luxembourg. Following last month’s Council agreement on reform of the CAP, the negotiations have now moved to the so-called ‘trilogue’ phase. Discussions between the Council, European Parliament and Commission have recently commenced, and the Minister will update his Member State colleagues on the current state of play.
Minister Coveney - "We must now fully capitalise the momentum created by the fact that the Council and the European Parliament have agreed their respective positions on the CAP reform package.”
Minister Coveney said:
“Last month’s Council General Approach on the CAP reform package was an important step forward, and we must now fully capitalise the momentum created by the fact that the Council and the European Parliament have agreed their respective positions on the CAP reform package.”
A total of six trilogues have taken place across the four CAP reform dossiers dealing with direct payments, the single CMO, rural development, and the financing and monitoring of the CAP.
Minister Coveney said:
“The trilogue process has essentially just started, and while it needs a little time to settle down, I think we must maintain our focus on the need to make progress on all of the issues as quickly as possible.”
Minister Coveney will present a short progress report to the Council on the outcome of these meetings. He will also outline his plans for informal consultations between the three institutions, which he hopes will facilitate the difficult task of finding compromises, particularly on major political issues, so that an overall political agreement can be reached by the end of June.
Minister Coveney stated:
“I will be informing my Member State colleagues about what has been a positive start, and about the parallel processes that must take place in order to ensure that we achieve our target of a political agreement by the end of June. I will also be asking them to maintain the flexible approach and the readiness to compromise that they have shown in the negotiations to date.”
The other agriculture item on the agenda is the Commission’s proposals for
transitional provisions for the implementation of the CAP in 2014. Such transitional measures are necessary given the additional time that will be required to draw up the implementing rules arising from the new CAP framework and to put in place the necessary administrative arrangements across all Member States.
The Irish Presidency has already achieved some early successes in delivering on its objective of securing agreement on reform, with Minister Coveney brokering a landmark agreement at February Agri/Fish Council, to end the controversial practices of discards. The process has also now entered the crucial ‘Trilogue’ which is expected to be one of the most challenging aspects of the process to date.
Regarding this, Minister Coveney said:
“I am broadly optimistic on our prospects for achieving an agreement by the end of the Irish Presidency however I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead and the intensive work programme which I and my officials will need to embark on over the coming weeks and months in order to achieve a positive final outcome and successful Reform of the EU Fisheries Policy.”
The Irish Presidency has prioritised securing an agreed reform of the CFP by the end of June. This will necessitate all three EU institutions involved (Council of Ministers, EU Parliament and the EU Commission) agreeing on a final way forward. The trilogue process which is expected to continue to mid May involves forensic discussion of the reform proposals in what is one of the EUs most high profile and often controversial and complex policy areas.
Minister Coveney continued ‘We are all agreed on the potential benefits which can flow from modernising the CFP. However, an agreement will not become a reality unless all of us involved in these crucially important discussions are prepared to find common ground on the aspects of the reform proposals.”
Minister Coveney - “The prize of delivering a reformed CFP is simply too important to fail. We must now redouble our efforts during the second half of our Presidency to ensure that our early success in brokering agreement leads to an agreed reform benefiting all member states by delivering prosperity to Europe’s coastal economies and sustainability for our fish stocks."
The Minister has already welcomed the commitment by Director Generals for Fisheries of EU Member States (meeting in Clonakility, Ireland on Tuesday 16th April) to achieve agreement on CFP reform by the end of June.
Watch a video preview of the meeting's agenda.