Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland East, Liam Aylward, will speak at the European Parliament in Strasbourg today during a crucial debate on the ‘Future of the Common Agriculture Policy’. Mr Aylward will call on the Minister for Agriculture to ensure that the views of MEPs are given equal weight in the next stage of the negotiations and that Irish farmers are not collateral damage in the Council’s bid to secure a timely resolution of the CAP Reform.
Speaking from Strasbourg the Ireland East MEP stated: “Months of negotiation and thousands of amendments are coming to a head in the European Parliament this week. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has an equal say with the European Council and Ministers cannot just steamroll a deal through without regard to the legislative views expressed by MEPs. Farmers have the right to have their position, as expressed through the European Parliament and its MEPs, respected during the negotiations.
“There is a lot on the table with this reform and it is clear that the devil will be in the detail for Irish farmers. With flattening of direct payments, the introduction of greening measures, active farmer definitions, changes to payment entitlements, young farmer schemes and attempts to reintroduce sugar and milk quotas – Irish agriculture is facing huge upheaval. It is essential that the deal secured under the Irish Presidency is the best deal for Irish farmers and not just a deal at any cost.
“It is widely known that that CAP reform negotiations are under severe pressure if implementation deadlines are to be met. With time pressure comes the expectation of concessions. Given the importance of agriculture to Ireland’s economic growth and rural communities it is clear that Irish agriculture and Ireland’s productive farmers must not be compromised,” Mr Aylward concluded.
The debate on the mandate for negotiation of the four legislative reports covering the CAP Reform takes place in the European Parliament at 3pm today with the vote to follow at midday tomorrow (Wednesday).