At today’s EU Council in Brussels, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, highlighted the need to reduce the regulatory and audit burdens on Member States and farmers.

Speaking on the future of the CAP at the formal session of the Council, Minister Creed referred to the enormous importance of this issue for the Irish and European agriculture sectors.

“I stressed the importance of ensuring that the CAP continues to evolve in the way that it has over recent reforms, and that it supports the achievement of European strategic objectives.

“This will help to reinforce the relevance and effectiveness of the policy, and to secure a strong CAP budget for the period post-2020.”

Key challenges include the need to support sustainable intensification of food production, to help farmers to deal with the effects of market volatility through modern and innovative measures, and to encourage generational renewal.

“I also emphasised the need to sharpen the focus on outcomes, and to reduce the regulatory and audit burdens on Member States and farmers.”

Minister Creed also used the opportunity to further progress his engagement with other Member States and with the European Commission in relation to Brexit.

Speaking after the Council, the Minister also referred to the Brexit discussions that had taken place.

“I was very happy to have bilateral meetings on both agri-food and fisheries aspects of Brexit with a number of Member States, and with the Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan.

“I met my counterparts from Spain, Scotland and from Estonia, ahead of the latter’s assumption of the Council Presidency later this year.

“I also met my counterpart and current Council President from Malta for a very useful and informative discussion. I intend to build further on these contacts through bilateral meetings with other key Member States in the coming weeks, in respect of which officials from my Department also held preparatory discussions today.”

Concluding, the Minister noted the Commission’s plans for progressing this issue over the next number of months, and undertook to “engage constructively” in this process.