Ireland calls increased intervention levels and superlevy deferral at EU meeting

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, today called on the Commission to re-examine the volume limit for fixed price intervention for Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP).

The Minister was speaking in Brussels where he was attending his first meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

The Minister said intervention remains the most effective means available to deal with volatility.

“Demand for it is very high, and I have therefore called on the Commission to provide for a further increase in the volume limit for fixed price intervention for SMP.

“I think this increase needs to be effected soon, and it should be substantial,” he said.

Minister Creed also asked the Commission to give favourable consideration to a higher rate of advance payments in 2016, removal of customs tariffs and anti-dumping duties on the importation of fertilisers and a deferral of superlevy payments, among other measures.

According to the IFA, the average superlevy fine still outstanding is in the order of €10,000 per dairy farm.

Milk supply

Referring to the proposals agreed in March on voluntary controls, the Minister reiterated that these must be the limit of how far the discussion on control extends.

“They must remain temporary, strictly voluntary at both producer and Member State level and must be funded at Member State level only, if desired,” he said.

Climate Change

The Council also discussed the Paris Agreement on climate change.

During discussions, the Minister noted that the EU must build on the existing carbon-efficiency and sustainability of the EU agriculture sector by incentivising cost-effective mitigation measures through innovation and judicious use of CAP policies.

He said it must also avoid downward pressure on sustainable food production so that the EU contribution to global food production can be maintained and the displacement of EU production to less efficient food production systems can be avoided.

Mr Fernand Etgen, Luxembourg Minister for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development; Mr Michael Creed, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“These principles need to be reflected in the calculation of the correction for cost efficiency of national reduction targets, which are to be determined in the effort-sharing decision.

“Indeed, these principles should be reflected in the assumptions made in calculating the actual reduction targets, particularly in respect of agricultural production that is already environmentally sustainable and climate efficient.

“I was pleased to be able to make these points again to Commissioner Canete today, following our very useful discussion in Dublin last week, and I look forward to further progress being made in the ongoing engagement that will take place between our officials in the coming weeks,” he said.