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Coveney strongly defends CAP funding in EU budget talks

Minister Simon Coveney today underlined that the Common Agricultural Policy remains a top priority for the Irish Government in the discussion on the EU's seven year budget (the multiannual financial framework or MFF).  Minister Coveney was responding to a new document on the budget from the Cyprus EU Presidency which shows a cut of almost 5% from the Commission’s original budget proposals. The Government has consistently supported the Commission’s MFF proposals.

"I am concerned that the proposals from the presidency show a 2% cut in the allocation for CAP - although I do acknowledge that this is less than the cuts proposed for other budget headings following intense pressure from Ireland and some other Member States", Minister Coveney said. "The CAP is the most developed common policy in the EU and provides vital support for our farmers and for the whole agri-food sector. It is an important platform for the continued growth of the sector in Ireland and in the EU and plays a particularly crucial role in our Food Harvest strategy which we expect to deliver 25,000 jobs by 2020."

The Minister said that the negotiations on the EU budget were absolutely critical for Ireland which benefited enormously from CAP spending in particular. "I will work closely with the Taoiseach and Tanaiste to ensure that Ireland gets the best possible outcome from the negotiations.  My objective is clear - I want to keep our EU funding, under both pillar 1 and pillar 2 of the CAP, and continue to use it to develop this key sector of our economy in order to maximise its contribution to our economic recovery."

The Minister said that he was happy that this strong position on the CAP was shared by all his Government colleagues.  "Protecting Ireland's CAP funding is a national priority because of the support it provides for a key productive sector and the large net benefits it delivers to Ireland in budget transfers."

Date Released: 30 October 2012