CAP is Core Issue Says Minister16 November 2012
IRELAND - Irish Minister Simon Coveney has said that defending the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding for Ireland is still at the heart of the Government's stance in the negotiations on the seven-year EU budget.
He was speaking after new proposals emerged in Brussels for a cut in the budget figures originally proposed by the European Commission.
"The Tánaiste will be making the Government's position very clear at negotiations in the General Affairs Council on Monday and Tuesday, as will of course the Taoiseach at the European Council next Thursday and Friday."
"It is clear that the negotiations on the new budget will be complex and challenging" Minister Coveney said "but we are determined to protect the CAP to the maximum extent possible. We are forcefully making the point that the food industry is the largest manufacturing industry in Europe and that any budget focused on jobs and growth must respect this fact."
The Minister also underlined the importance of the CAP to our own economy. "The CAP is the source of large net budget transfers from the EU to Ireland, and this is undeniably very important, particularly in our current economic circumstances. But equally important is the fact that these payments provide an important underpinning for the significant growth in the Irish agri-food sector that we envisage between now and 2020, as set out in our Food Harvest strategy. We believe that this growth could deliver in the region of 25,000 jobs in this country. It is for this reason above all that we will be resolute in our support for the CAP and insistent on protecting Ireland's share of it."