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Coughlan travels to Berlin for Meeting on WTO with German Agriculture Minister

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, met her German counterpart, Horst Seehofer in Berlin yesterday to discuss latest developments in WTO. In a wide-ranging discussion they agreed that the latest developments posed great dangers to EU agriculture and they expressed strong dissatisfaction with the direction the talks were taking.

Both Ministers were agreed on the need for balance under the current proposals and that EU agriculture could not be sacrificed for the sake of a deal. Like Ireland, Germany has a major interest in a good outcome from the current WTO round. However, both Ministers agreed that the required balance is not there at the present time. The Ministers had very similar concerns about increased imports of livestock products under the proposals currently under discussion.

Ministers Coughlan and Seehofer undertook to continue to work together and to redouble efforts to ensure that the outcome of the WTO negotiations did not endanger the European model of agriculture.

The Minister also had extensive discussions about the future of the CAP. They agreed on the need to preserve certain market management mechanisms particularly in the light of the expiry of milk quotas from 2015 and also in the light of new emerging food security issues and the ability of the EU to maintain and increase its self sufficiency in food production.

Ministers Coughlan and Seehofer undertook to continue to work together and to redouble efforts to ensure that the outcome of the WTO negotiations did not endanger the European model of agriculture.

The Minister also had extensive discussions about the future of the CAP. They agreed on the need to preserve certain market management mechanisms particularly in the light of the expiry of milk quotas from 2015 and also in the light of new emerging food security issues and the ability of the EU to maintain and increase its self sufficiency in food production.

The Ministers discussed CAP Health Check and agreed on the need for policy stability for both farmers and the agri food sector. They were both strongly against increased compulsory modulation. Discussions also took place on the future of the dairy regime and the steps needed to ensure a soft landing for the ending of milk quotas.

Minister Coughlan concluded by saying that the meeting with Minister Seehofer had been extremely useful. She was encouraged by the strong German position on WTO as well on key aspects of the Health Check.

Date Released: 23 April 2008