For Written Answer on : 28/03/2018
Question Number(s): 235 Question Reference(s): 14378/18
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the outcome of discussions at the recent EU agriculture Council of Ministers meeting in relation to the need to increase the CAP budget post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
An EU Agriculture Council of Ministers was held on 19 March 2018. The main item on the Council agenda was the Presidency’s draft council conclusions on CAP post 2020, which ran to 40 paragraphs. The aim of the draft Council conclusions is to provide guidance to the European Commission on the drafting of legislative proposals, which are expected to be published in early June 2018.
In the event, it was not possible to achieve the required unanimous agreement for Council conclusions, however Presidency conclusions were issued covering a wide range of issues that arise in CAP reform.
The determination of budgetary ceilings, including those of the Common Agricultural Policy, is a matter for Finance Ministers. Nonetheless Minister of State Doyle who represented Ireland at the most recent Council of Agriculture Ministers indicated that the EU will need as strong a budget as possible to deliver on the many objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy. Ireland has been very consistent on this issue in recent months especially as discussions around potential increases in GNI contributions have been floated. The Taoiseach, in his address to the European Parliament in January 2018, has already indicated that Ireland is open to contributing more to the EU budget, but only if it is spent on policies that contribute to the advancement of the European ideal.
Both I and my colleague Minister of State Doyle will continue to argue for as strong a CAP budget as possible as negotiations on CAP post 2020 intensify.