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Minister Coughlan meets UK colleague

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, met with her UK counterpart, Mr David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in London, on 2nd November 2006 to discuss current issues in relation to agriculture, food and rural development policy.

Minister Coughlan said that she had a very fruitful discussion and exchange of views with Mr Miliband. The main issues discussed were the contribution of agriculture to climate change and energy policy, in particular the role of energy crops and how production could be encouraged. Also discussed were CAP policy in the context of the forth-coming review of the EU budget and the CAP 'Health Check'. In a wide ranging discussion on current policy and their budgetary implications, the Minister said that she had also taken the opportunity to emphasise her commitment to improved labelling of foodstuffs in the interests of EU producers and consumers and sought UK support on this issue.

The Ministers also reviewed recent developments in relation to animal disease. They acknowledged the benefits of the existing close working relationship between the Irish and UK Departments and undertook to continue to work closely.

Minister Coughlan said the meeting had been extremely useful and she felt that both sides had a better understanding of each other's positions which would be useful in future negotiations at EU level.

3 November, 2006

Date Released: 03 November 2006