Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding is still at the centre of the Irish Government’s stance in the seven-year EU budget, said Irish Minister Simon Coveney.
According to Coveney, it is important this funding is defended and, in a speech made after the emergence of new proposals for a cut in the budget figures proposed by the European Commission, he said: “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,” added Coveney, “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.”
Coveney also talked about the importance of CAP on his country’s economy and explained that it was the source of a “large net budget of transfers from the EU to Ireland”, and hence very important.
CAP was ever-more important in the current economic climate, added Coveney, and proof that the payments were supporting major growth within the Irish agri-food sector, “that we envisage between now and 2020, as set out in our Food Harvest strategy”, added Coveney.
“We believe 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,” he said.