28 May 2021

 Following three-day CAP talks in Brussels, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., has said difficult discussions lie ahead in the ongoing effort to reach agreement between the European institutions on the future Common Agriculture Policy.

Commenting following the formal suspension of trilogue negotiations in Brussels this morning, the Minister said,

I am very disappointed that a CAP deal was not achieved this week as, along with my colleagues in the Council of Ministers, I worked incredibly hard to do so. The last few days have been very challenging. For its part, the Council has shown a willingness to negotiate and to seek a compromise that will allow the new CAP framework to be finalised. Our farmers need this, and time is running short if we are to have it in place by January 2023 – the alternative does not bear thinking about. However, we must ensure that we deliver a CAP that will have the maximum flexibility for us to make our own decisions.

Referring to the conclusion of the talks, the Minister said,

Unfortunately, it was not possible to reach an accommodation with the European Parliament this week. It is clear that the two sides remain some distance apart on a range of issues,  including conditionality requirements, the targeting of support (including internal convergence and mandatory redistribution of direct payments), the ring-fencing and expenditure of eco-scheme funding, and the social dimension. These issues are complex and difficult to resolve and will require compromise. It is crucial that we do so, in order to provide the clarity that farmers and Member States need about the arrangements that will apply from January 2023.

The Minister stressed his continuing commitment to the process, and to the need to honour the principle of Member State subsidiarity inherent in the original Commission proposals.

 He stated,

I will continue to work with my colleagues at Council to seek the maximum possible flexibility for Member States to implement the new CAP in a way that is most effective and appropriate to their national circumstances. This is how we will achieve the twin aims of supporting the sector’s development and achieving the level of climate and environmental ambition required.

 Concluding, the Minister said,

I look forward to the talks resuming at the earliest possible opportunity, and to the European Parliament adopting a constructive and pragmatic approach that  will help to achieve an agreement. The road ahead is difficult but we all must get there.