Dáil Éireann - Volume 561 - 13 February, 2003
Written Answers. - Common Agricultural Policy.
Mr. Boyle Mr. Boyle
17. Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if it is still the case that CAP funding is, and will be in the future, subject to Ireland being established as a nitrate vulnerable zone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4052/03]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
 Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): In the CAP rural development plan I secured very substantial funding, for the period 2000-06, for REPS, compensatory allowances, the early retirement scheme and forestry. The plan also includes an undertaking to give effect to certain aspects of the nitrates directive. Delivering on these undertakings is important for Irish farmers, the majority of whom are beneficiaries of one or more of the measures in the rural development plan. The European Commission has been pressing number of member states, including Ireland, for clarification and clear commitments in this regard and for an indication of the measures, and timescale, for full implementation of the nitrates directive. The Commission has indicated that continued support for the four measures in the rural development plan through EAGGF funding of up to 75% is conditional on an early and appropriate response by Ireland. Under the nitrates directive, a member state must either designate particular areas as nitrate vulnerable zones, or alternatively adopt an action programme covering its whole territory. The Government has recently decided to implement the directive by way of a national action programme, and a reply notifying the European Commission of that decision is being prepared.
18. Mr. Coveney 18. Mr. Coveney
18. Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the current status of the Fischler proposals. [3976/03]
Dr. Upton Dr. Upton
41. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the content and outcome of discussions in which he partook at EU level recently regarding the proposed reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy; if he has forthcoming meetings in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3851/03]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 41 together.
The Commission's detailed proposals for the mid-term review of Agenda 2000 were published on 22 January and presented by Commissioner Fischler to the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers on 27 January. At that meeting, Ministers gave their preliminary responses to the proposals. The details of the proposals are now being examined in various Committees in Brussels and discussions will continue at official level and in the Council of Ministers over the coming months. I also intend to discuss the proposals bilaterally with my Council colleagues and I have already initiated that process. The Greek Presidency has indicated its intention to reach decisions on the proposals at the June meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council but it is clear that the timetable is dependent on progress made in the discussions in the months ahead. I have already outlined my concerns and made my overall opposition to these proposals clear at the January Council meeting. My objective in the  negotiations is to preserve the benefits to Irish agriculture and to rural communities achieved under the Agenda 2000 agreement.
Dáil Éireann 561 Written Answers. Common Agricultural Policy.