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Minister Smith Responds To Publication Of Cap Health Check

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Brendan Smith TD, today noted the publication, by the EU Commission, of legislative proposals on the Health Check of the CAP.

Minister Smith said that he looked forward to the presentation of the proposals to the Agriculture Council at the forthcoming Informal Council in Ljubljana on 27th May and the opportunity at that meeting for a first political discussion on the proposals.

Minister Smith said he welcomed the initiative to simplify the operation of the CAP, which he said the Irish government has been advocating for a number of years. He said he will be studying the detail of this and ensuring it progresses to the benefit of Irish farmers during the negotiations. "My view is that the Health Check must deliver real simplification that has concrete benefits at farm level," the Minister said.

The Minister added that, while this is the first step by the Commission on the Health Check, he has reservations on a number of proposals which he will be pursuing during the forthcoming negotiations.

"I will work on building alliances and understandings with Member States as well as outlining my concerns to the Commission in order to achieve progress on issues such as an acceptable and ambitious increase in milk quotas for Ireland. I will also be voicing my concern at the proposed increase in the rate of modulation so that I can ensure the protection of farm payments in Ireland and I will be pushing for the retention of market management."

The Minister acknowledged that negotiations on the various proposals would now commence under the Slovenian Presidency and continue under the French Presidency. Mr Smith said that the proposals would also be on the Council agenda through to the November Council and said that he would take every opportunity to reflect Ireland's concerns about some aspects of the proposals.

20th May 2008

Date Released: 20 May 2008