Minister McConalogue Highlights Need for CAP Strategic Plan Flexibility

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, will underline the need for flexibility on the part of both Member States and the European Commission as Ireland begins to implement its new CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) at the Agrifish Council meeting in Brussels.

Speaking ahead of the Council, Minister McConalogue said, “Ireland was fortunate to be in the first batch of plans approved by the European Commission in August this year. Preparing the CSP in such a challenging timeframe was very difficult. There will be a need for flexibility in the early years of the CAP Strategic Plan as we introduce the processes to meet the requirements of the new delivery model.”

“For example, the Area Monitoring System will be a step-change for farmers and for Member State administrations. This will require all farmers to engage with and become familiar new processes, and to react in a timely manner to any queries raised by my department. We will assist farmers in this process and I know the advisory service will play an important role too. However, we will need to be flexible and adaptive in this and other areas as we work through the initial phases of Strategic Plan implementation. The implementation of the CAP must be farmer-friendly which provides farmers with maximum clarity as we move towards a new system.”

The Council will also discuss the market situation following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Minister said, “I have moved to support our farm families through the difficulties of 2022. While we have moved to address the input price challenges faced by farm families through targeted supports, I remain concerned in relation to the price and availability of fertilisers, and its potential impact on the 2023 harvest. I will continue support measures into 2023, but this is a situation that must remain under ongoing and close scrutiny.”

Commenting on planned discussions on EU animal welfare legislation, the Minister said, “Ireland acknowledges the need for a review. EU animal welfare legislation has been in place for some time. It is essential that any new legislative proposals should be informed by science, using the most up-to-date scientific knowledge. As new proposals are prepared, it will also be essential to avoid negative impacts on the operation of the Single Market.”

The meeting will also include discussions on Front of Pack labelling, the current state of play of the relegation on geographical indications and quality schemes across the EU, and the current state of the play of the directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

Finally, it is hoped that Fisheries negotiations on the setting of Total Available Catches and Quotas for 2023 will be concluded. Minister McConalogue indicated that he will comment further on this later in the day.

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