Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 02 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Sugar Beet Industry.

  399. Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Agri[958] culture and Food if she will make a statement on the future of the Irish sugar beet and sugar processing industry in the light of the current proposals in relation to changes in the EU regime and within the WTO. [27209/04]

  Mary Coughlan:Reform of the sugar regime has come high on the EU agenda because of developments at WTO level, other international pressures and having regard to the significant reforms already agreed for other CAP sectors in 2003 and 2004.

Legislative proposals for reform have not yet been put forward. However, the European Commission outlined its broad proposals for reform of the regime in a communication to the Council and the European Parliament last July. At that time it was made clear that the proposals would have serious repercussions for the Irish industry at both growing and processing level and, therefore, that they were not acceptable in their current form. The Commission’s proposals are expected to be discussed further at the Council of agriculture ministers later this month. It is my objective to protect the viability of sugar beet growing and processing in this country.