Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been thoroughly focused on Brexit and the CAP reform as he held separate talks with his Danish and Belgian counterparts.
Creed spoke to both Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and Denis Ducarme in the build-up to the Informal Council of Agriculture Ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria.
On The Same Page
Speaking after the meetings, the Minister said, “I was delighted to avail of this opportunity to discuss the many challenges that Brexit and the CAP reform give rise to for the agri-food sector, with two very important EU partners. We had a very useful exchange, in particular on the state of play in relation to Brexit.
“Both of my colleagues are relatively recent appointees, so I outlined the potential difficulties that Brexit will create for Ireland’s agri-food sector given our exposure to the UK market and the critical importance of facilitating Irish exports, through the UK landbridge, to the EU market. We also discussed shared concerns about the progress made to date on the withdrawal negotiations, and about the need for the UK to engage in a much more substantive way on the key issues, particularly in relation to the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“I acknowledged Member States’ support for Ireland’s position to date, and was again very struck by the degree of commonality evident in today’s discussions."
Regarding the CAP reform, Minister Creed outlined Ireland’s priorities, which he emphasised were underpinned by the need to secure an adequate budget for the CAP from the recently-commenced negotiations on the post-2020 Multi-annual Financial Framework.
“Indeed, this was a point that I reiterated very strongly at today’s Informal Council discussions, which focused on the need for generational renewal in agriculture," he said.
"It was evident from today’s bilateral meetings that, while we have sometimes differing approaches, we share the common objective of ensuring that the CAP continues to underpin the development of the European agri-food sector.
“This provides the basis for what I hope will be very fruitful discussions over the coming months, starting in Luxembourg the week after next.”
While Minister Creed has been fighting to ensure safety for the Irish market in light of Brexit, he recently has had to keep an eye over his shoulder as a trade war between the US and China looms, which he said is “the last thing we need”.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.