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Minister Smith in Push by EU Ministers to Reduce Red-Tape for Farmers

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today said that he was working closely with his German colleague and a number of other EU agriculture Ministers in a further push for urgent action to lessen the administrative burden on farmers from EU measures. The group of Ministers are urging the EU agriculture Commissioner to use the opportunity presented by the revision of a key EU Regulation to advance the simplification agenda.

The Ministers said that this underlined his continuing efforts to further progress the simplification of procedures and controls in delivering the Single Payment Scheme and other measures and to build on the advances achieved during the CAP Health Check negotiations.

The Minister said "this most recent concerted effort by like-minded Member States to achieve further simplification of the CAP is very positive. The primary objective is to reduce red tape and the administrative burden on farmers thereby making the Single Payment Scheme more effective, efficient and simple".

He recalled that "In April of this year 13 Member States including Ireland, with the common goal of further simplification, presented to the Commission a list of 39 specific proposals for simplification of the CAP". The conclusions of the Council on 25th May this year contained an unambiguous commitment by the Council to continue the simplification process.

Minister Smith pointed out that the Commission and Member States had been requested to consider these proposals during the ongoing discussion of the implementing rules required following the CAP Health Check agreement.

The Minister said "I welcome the fact that the Commissioner responded positively to the proposals made by Ireland and others last April.  I hope that she will now take this opportunity to ensure that the current revision of the single payment regulation takes full account of these proposals, and this is what the latest initiative is designed to achieve.  I and my fellow Ministers want the most rapid possible implementation of our simplification proposals".

The Minister stressed the importance of working closely with other Member States on this issue.  "Ireland is at its most effective in the EU decision making process when we work closely with others who are of like mind on issues of concern to us.  This underlines yet again the critical importance of keeping Ireland at the heart of the EU and not isolating ourselves.  It is crucial that all Irish farmers and others keep this firmly in mind when voting in the Lisbon Treaty referendum".

While being in the vanguard in promoting the Single Payment Scheme simplification agenda, Minister Smith recognised the need to ensure proper controls and accountability in the disbursement of taxpayers money - EU and national. The Minister believed, that these requirements would in no way be compromised by adoption of the proposals put forward by Member States.

Minister Smith said "I will continue to press the simplification proposals further at EU level and I will continue to work closely with colleagues from other Member States to this end". 

Date Released: 25 August 2009