Latest leg of Brexit meetings leads Minister Creed to Luxembourg

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, held a number of Brexit meetings in Luxembourg yesterday.

The bilateral meetings were held on the margins of the monthly Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers meeting.

These meetings were organised as part of Minister Creed’s ongoing process of engagement with his EU counterparts, in an effort to build awareness of Ireland’s potential exposure from an agri-food and fisheries perspective and to seek common ground on an approach to Brexit.

Minister Creed met with the Austrian Minister for Agriculture, Andra Rupprechter; the UK Minister of State for Agriculture Fisheries and Food, George Eustice; the Luxembourg Minister for Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Fernand Etgen and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan yesterday.

Over the past month, Minister Creed has met with eight of his EU colleagues and the Commissioner specifically, to discuss Brexit and the potential implications for the agri-food and fisheries sectors in Ireland.

“The main thrust of these discussions has been to impress upon Ministers across the EU how important it is for Ireland to maintain its trading relationship with the UK and to outline the integrated nature of the North-South food economy.

Furthermore, I have sought to establish common ground with Member States who share similar exposure, be it from a food exports or fisheries perspective – in order to help shape future negotiations on such matters.

“Finally, these meetings have provided an opportunity to raise awareness of our unique position amongst Member States who may be sensitised to the potential impact of Brexit on EU Member State economies,” he said.

Agricultural provisions of the Commission’s omnibus proposals, CAP simplification and recent developments in relation to Brazilian meat exports to the EU were all discussed during the Council of Ministers meeting yesterday.

Next Phase of the Brexit process

Last week, after the UK formally made its Article 50 notification to the European Council, Minister Creed declared that his Department is well prepared for the next phase of the Brexit process.

Minister Creed was speaking following a meeting with his Polish counterpart.

“A huge amount of work has been done in recent months in terms of analysis, consultation and engagement.

“We are well prepared for the next phase of this process, and I look forward to ensuring that the interests of the agri-food and fisheries sectors are protected as we face the many challenges that lie ahead,” he said.