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Irish Agriculture Minister in Talks with EU Commissioner

by 5m Editor
30 January 2008, at 12:41pm

IRELAND - The plight of the Irish pig industry was at the fore when Irish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Mary Coughlan this week met with Mariann Fischer Boel, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, in Dublin.

The minister and commissioner discussed a range of key issues relevant to the agri food sector in Ireland.

Minister Coughlan asked the EU Commissioner to give favourable consideration to her proposal to seek a solution to the difficulties being faced by the pig meat sector at present.

The Minister said that while the re-introduction of export refunds last November by the EU Commission has helped to alleviate some of the problems in the sector, it is important that the refunds are maintained for as long as necessary.

It is equally important that the refunds mechanism is used to the fullest extent possible in a strategic and targeted way.

The Minister and the Commissioner also exchanged views on a wide range of issues concerning the current prospects for a W.T.O. deal and the ongoing debate on the health check of the CAP.

As regards W.T.O., Minister Coughlan repeated Ireland's desire for a successful outcome from this round of W.T.O. negotiations, however, she said it must not be at the expense of EU and Irish agriculture.

The Minister said she was not prepared to accept an agreement that sacrifices Irish and EU agriculture or that undermines the viability of the CAP and the European Model of agriculture.

Minister Coughlan urged the Commissioner to use the opportunity presented by the Health Check to focus on operational simplification.

She said she would have preferred to have more specific and practical commitments to simplification in the Communication, but was pleased that the Commission was open to consider the suggestions that have already been submitted by Ireland.

5m Editor