Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue is aiming to resubmit Ireland’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan to the European Commission by the end of this month.
Speaking today (Monday, July 18) before a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, Minister McConalogue said that he will also hold a one-to-one meeting with European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski on Ireland’s CAP plan.
“I look forward to discussing the current position on Ireland’s draft plan with Commissioner Wojciechowski and closing out the small number of outstanding issues,” the minister commented.
“If the commission and ourselves can do that quickly, it will allow us to resubmit our plan by the end of the month.”
The CAP Strategic Plan was initially submitted to the commission on December 31 last.
In early April, the commission published its observations of Ireland’s plan, highlighting a number of issues, mainly around its “environmental ambition”. The government was asked to make the necessary changes and resubmit the plan for approval.
Minister McConalogue is set to reiterate the importance of early approval of member states’ plans when he addresses the Council of the EU meeting of agriculture ministers today.
“Farmers need certainty of the approved CAP Strategic Plan in order to make the long-term planning decision around their farm businesses. Similarly, member states need the necessary time to put in place administrative arrangements and IT systems, and to communicate with farmers about the final content of the CAP plans.
“We are already working to extremely challenging timelines. Our priority now should be swift approval, which will facilitate rapid and full engagement with farmers. We simply cannot afford to wait,” the minister argued.
The impact on agricultural markets of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will once again be a feature of today’s council discussion.
Minister McConalogue said: “I continue to be extremely concerned about the impact on agricultural markets of the Russian invasion. The absence of Ukrainian grain will continue to have serious implications for global food security, and for the availability of feed materials.
“The latter has particularly negative consequences for all livestock sectors.”
The minister welcomed the work that has been undertaken on ‘solidarity lanes’, which are aimed at providing a means of getting grain our of Ukraine.
There is also set to be an exchange of views on animal transport. Minister McConalogue said he will “emphasise Ireland’s implementation of the highest standards of animal welfare at all stages of an animal’s life, including during transport”.
Other topics up for discussion today include: a presentation from the new council presidency (with the Czech Republic taking over at the start of this month) on its priorities for its six-month tenure; proposed regulations on plant protection products; and trade of products associated with deforestation.