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Coughlan hosts meeting with French Agriculture Minister in Dublin

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., met her French Ministerial colleague, Mr Dominique Bussereau, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Rural Development in Dublin today to discuss a range of current issues.

The Minister said that the meeting took place as part of the on-going close personal and working relationship which has developed at Ministerial level, and between the two Ministries on agriculture and rural development issues over the years. The main item for discussion on this occasion was a review of the on-going WTO negotiations. The Minister said that she and Minister Bussereau were very concerned about the implications of a new agreement and they had discussed how best to defend the Community's interests. The Minister confirmed that together with 11 other EU colleagues, both Ministers had, last week, co-signed a submission to Commissioners Fischer Boel and Mandleson setting out joint concerns on issues relating to market access, domestic support and export subsidies in advance of further important WTO negotiations which are taking place.

Minister Bussereau outlined his recent initiative on crisis management and simplification proposals for the CAP which will be presented at next week's Council of Ministers meeting. Minister Coughlan said that she had already indicated her support for this initiative which, she hoped, would ensure that the CAP could be more responsive to needs of the agri-food sector in the future.

The Ministers also reviewed the decisions of the European Council in December on the Financial Perspective for the period 2007-2013. Both Ministers confirmed their commitment to ensuring that adequate funding will be provided to meet the cost of implementing the CAP and rural development over the period.

Both Ministers also exchanged views on the continuing threat posed by Avian Influenza and the measures being taken at EU and National level to deal with it. The Ministers discussed also the particular implications for the poultry sector. Minister Coughlan said that there was also a very useful exchange of positions on Biomass, the EU Animal Welfare Action Plan and other current issues.

The Minister said that Ireland and France had a shared vision and common interests in relation to the future of the CAP and that she looked forward to continuing on-going close co-operation on various issues.

13 March, 2006

Date Released: 13 March 2006