The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, today (Monday, May 30) met with European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, to discuss progress to date in the commission’s approval of Ireland’s draft Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister McConalogue said: “I welcome the opportunity today to discuss the key points of the commission’s observations letter on Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan, which we received on March 31, with Commissioner Wojciechowski.

“There has been excellent engagement already with the commission on these observations in recent weeks, and I told the commissioner that I look forward to further progress being made over the coming period.”

The minister noted what he described as the positive comments in the commission’s observations letter on a number of elements of Ireland’s draft plan, including its acknowledgment that the draft addresses all of the specific objectives of the CAP, and that it takes into account the commission’s recommendations.

He also noted the work that is ongoing on elements in respect of which more information has been sought by the commission.

Highlighting the importance of reaching swift, overall approval of the plan, the minister said: “I emphasised that it is my priority to finalise the CAP Strategic Plan as soon as possible.

“We need to ensure that we can have a smooth transition to the next CAP period from the end of this year. This means that administrative arrangements and IT systems need to be deployed in a timely manner, and that extensive communications with farmers and other stakeholders have to take place.

“It is therefore vital that the approval process is concluded with the minimum possible delay.”

Minister McConalogue and Commissioner Wojciechowski also discussed Ireland’s application for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Irish grass-fed beef, as well as the ongoing review of EU promotions policy. 

Commissioner Wojciechowski’s short visit to Ireland concludes with a visit to two farms in north Dublin – an organic farm and a small-scale livestock farm – during which he will be accompanied by Minister McConalogue and Minister of State, Pippa Hackett.

Commissioner Wojciechowski also addressed the 11th World Potato Congress today, an event being held in the RDS from today (May 30) until Thursday, June 2.