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O’Neill - CAP debate moving in the right direction

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has given a cautious welcome to position agreed by the EU Parliament in Strasbourg on CAP reform.
Friday, 15 March 2013

MEPs have voted on a raft of amendments to the Commission’s proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. These amendments represent the Parliament’s agreed position and mandate going into the final trilogue negotiations with the Commission and the Council, represented by the EU Presidency.

The Minister said: “The European Parliament has taken a helpful position on many key issues within the proposals for CAP reform. Many of its proposals on greening and the transition of direct payments towards a flat rate payment are pushing the debate in the right direction. I do have concerns about some aspects of what was agreed by the Parliament, but taken as a package I believe it should be viewed positively overall.”

The Minister continued: “I will be attending the Council next week and I very much hope we are able to reach an agreed position so that the negotiations can proceed. So far the negotiations have been going in the right direction and I am keen to secure a good final deal on behalf of our farmers and rural communities.”

The EU Parliament also decided against giving its support to the deal reached by the European Council on the EU budget for 2014-2020 and has asked for further discussions. The Minister said: “I welcome the Parliament’s reluctance to support the recent deal on the EU Budget for the next seven years, particularly since it means the CAP budget is around 13% lower in real terms compared to the current period. Farmers rely heavily on CAP support and I want that support to be protected and maintained.”

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