The two main challenges facing Irish and European agri-food sectors, namely Brexit and the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), were central themes of a meeting between Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and his recently-appointed French counterpart, Stéphane Travert, in Paris this morning (Friday, July 21).
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Creed said that he was delighted to have met Minister Travert so soon after his appointment to renew the 'traditionally close relationship between Ireland and France on agriculture matters, and to discuss our respective priorities as we face into what will undoubtedly be a very challenging period ahead'.
"Brexit and the future of CAP were, of course, top of the agenda. On Brexit, we had a very useful exchange on the potential implications for the agri-food sector and on the negotiation process. I conveyed to Minister Travert the critical importance to Ireland of continued unfettered access to the UK market for agri-food products. In overall terms, I was heartened by the degree of commonality in our concerns, which I hope will continue to characterise our engagement as the negotiations unfold.”
Minister Creed said he also had a good exchange with Minister Travert on fisheries issues including the recent UK announcement regarding the London Fisheries Convention and the wider potential impact of Brexit.
"We were both very much in agreement that we must maintain existing access and quota-sharing arrangements for our respective fleets. We will continue to work together, as well as with the Barnier Task Force and other Member States to ensure that both agriculture and fisheries issues remain a high priority in the negotiations to come.”
“This commonality of approach was also evident from our discussion of the CAP, which focused on the need for a strong CAP budget and for a policy that deals effectively with the many challenges facing the agri-food sector, including the need to produce more food in a sustainable manner. Again, we agreed to remain in close contact as the discussions in this area progress over the coming months.”
While in Paris, the Minister also took the opportunity to meet with Gilles Gauthier, president and Xavier Macquet, board member, of the FNICGV, a French organisation representing meat processors, wholesalers and distributors, some of whose more than 300 members are important purchasers of Irish beef and lamb. Minister Creed thanked them for their continued support and went on to explain Ireland’s concerns around Brexit as well as our priorities for the negotiations.
The Minister, along with Bord Bia, is expected to have a working lunch with a range of agri-food journalists today. In addition to discussing Origin Green and the sustainability characteristics of Irish food, Minister Creed will highlight the actions that he and Government colleagues are taking to meet the challenges of Brexit, as well as Ireland’s priorities on the future of the CAP.