The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will likely have to wait six months to get approval for its Rural Development Plan (RDP) from the European Commission.

The draft RDP was finalised by the Department and submitted to the European Commission on July 3.

Responding to a parliamentary question in the Dail this week the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney said that given the wide ranging nature of the content of the RDP and the extensive internal consultation to be undertaken by the Commission, it is difficult to predict exactly how long these discussions will last.

However, he said the relevant EU Regulations do provide some guidance in relation to the maximum time limits that will apply to the approval process. In accordance with regulations of the European Parliament and theCouncil, the Commission will make observations and respond within three months of the date of submission of Ireland’s RDP.

He said: “In response, my Department will provide to the Commission all necessary additional information and, where appropriate, revise the proposed programme.”

Provided that all observations made by the Commission are adequately taken into account, the Regulation sets out that the Commission will approve the Programme no later than six months following the original submission.

The Minister commented that: “Securing approval for the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 will be a priority for my Department in the coming months.”