AGRICULTURE MINISTER SIMON Coveney is back in Brussels today for further debates on planned Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms.
The meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council will also discuss African swine flu, the EU’s forest strategy and a conference on organic agriculture.
The public debate on the state of play of the CAP reform comes after June’s agreement between the EU institutions (the Council, the Commission and the Parliament) on the proposals for direct payments regulation and other aspects of the package.
However, the Parliament is still holding out on some longer-term issues, including the gradual reduction of grants, flexibility of rural development pillars and levels of co-funding.
It set out its position in a trilogue meeting last week and the Presidency will report to the Council on the developments there.
The ministers will then debate the next steps towards finalisation and adoption of the CAP reform package, hoping to close the gap between the Member States’ and Parliament’s positions.
The Parliament’s agriculture committee meeting will have to vote on the entire CAP reform package on 30 September.
Much of the progress made on the issue occurred during Ireland’s president of the European Council earlier this year, with Coveney claiming a victory for Irish farmers and signalled the most significant reform of the EU’s policy on agriculture in 10 years.
Amongst the most notable differences are the changes to the way the Single Farm Payment is distributed and new projects to promote sustainable farming.