Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the timetable for common agricultural policy negotiations over the coming days.
Reply from Minister Simon Coveney: Following what I think were extremely useful and productive informal discussions between the Council, European Parliament and Commission in Dublin earlier this week, my attention is already firmly focused on what I hope will be the final phase of the CAP reform negotiations over the coming weeks, culminating in an overall political agreement between the three institutions at the end of June.
The three institutions have been involved in so-called ‘trilogue’ negotiations since early April. These trilogues are scheduled to continue across all four CAP reform dossiers until 20 June, and it is intended that these discussions will resolve the vast majority of issues, which could be described as being of a largely technical nature. A separate and parallel informal process of discussion on the most sensitive political issues, which fed into the formal May Council and continued in a more substantial way at the informal meeting in Dublin, will also continue right through the month of June. These are the issues that will prove most difficult to resolve, and it is hoped that this parallel process will reduce the number of such issues to a manageable number of outstanding points that will be finalised, from a Council perspective, at the meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg from 24-26 June.
It is worth noting that in the course of the informal meeting in Dublin, all three European institutions re-stated their commitment to reaching an overall political agreement by the end of the Irish Presidency. This encouraging statement of intent, which was reinforced by the constructive approach taken by the participants, makes it clear that the target of reaching an overall agreement by the end of June remains very much on schedule.