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Minister Smith calls for the future CAP to support farm incomes, encourage competitiveness and innovation and promote sustainability

Speaking at the meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers held in Merida, Spain, yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD said that "the future common agricultural policy (CAP) must support farm incomes and address the issue of price and income volatility while at the same time avoiding market distortions".

Minister Smith added that "We must make sure that the CAP of the future encourages competitiveness and innovation through appropriate measures, including support for farm investment".

In the discussion where the main topic was the reform of the CAP in the perspective of the EU 2020 strategy, the Minister also said that promoting sustainability in all its dimensions and rewarding farmers for the public goods they provide are essential for the future of the industry. In this way the Minister said "we can ensure that our sector contributes to "green growth" as envisaged in the EU 2020 strategy. He insisted that "it is important that the EU 2020 strategy is aligned with pre-existing policies such as the CAP" underlining that there should be "integration and alignment in both directions".

Minister Smith said that agriculture has much to contribute to the EU 2020 strategy and that in turn the EU 2020 strategy must make a major contribution to the future of EU agriculture.  The Minister repeated his call for a strong and properly resourced EU agricultural policy that "can deliver the goals we have set of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth". This position was echoed by the vast majority of Member States.

In addition to participating in the official meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers, Minister Smith also met with French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire to discuss the common ground they share on the shape of the CAP after 2013. Minister Smith also used the opportunity to meet with the new UK Secretary of State Caroline Spelman, and the two have agreed to have a further meeting in the near future.

Date Released: 02 June 2010