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Creed welcomes new EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies Minister calls for rigorous impact assessment and extensive consultation

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today welcomed the recent publication by the European Commission of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies.

 

Speaking today at an informal video conference meeting of European Agriculture Ministers with the European Commissioners for Agriculture, and Health and Food Safety, Minister Creed stated, "I welcome the two strategies, but I must also strike a note of caution. I believe we will need to first have a thorough analysis of both strategies, in the form of rigorous impact assessments and broad consultation, in order to ensure that the competitiveness and financial viability of food production systems across all Member States are maintained and enhanced, as we deliver improved environmental outcomes to our societies and economies."

 

Minister Creed called for accelerated delivery by the Commission of its proposed legislative framework for sustainable food systems, particularly given the scale of ambition contained in the two strategies. He also noted the importance of maintaining the integrity of the single market when making any changes, and of ensuring that there is policy coherence at European level - for example between agriculture and international trade policy - in this and in other areas affecting environmental outcomes.

 

Commenting on the relationship between the new strategies and the ongoing work by Member States on their proposed CAP Strategic Plans, the Minister called for a timely and effective dialogue between the Commission and Member States. He said, "We know now that we must take into account the broad objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies in finalising our Strategic Plans, and that is something that we in Ireland intend to do. This new element should not, however, lead to delays in the approval of national plans. Nor should it undermine the principle of subsidiarity. What we should have is an ongoing and open dialogue between Member States and the Commission, working together to agree these important future plans."

 

Concluding, Minister Creed referred once again to the need to have an adequately funded CAP to support farmers in what is now an accelerated process of transition to a more sustainable future. While he again welcomed the recent revised MFF and Next Generation EU proposals as a significant improvement on previous budget proposals, he said that Ireland was still assessing the proposals in detail. In this regard the Minister noted, "The proposed front-loading of payments under the Next Generation EU Recovery Instrument may not necessarily facilitate the achievement of the strategies' objectives, as these will require actions and commitments from farmers over a much longer period of time than the period to 2024. In addition, the temporary nature of this funding raises the prospect of our starting point in the budgetary discussions next time around being very low indeed. This would not augur well for our ability to continue to support the transition to a more sustainable future."

  

ENDS

Date Released: 08 June 2020