Farm leaders remain determined to strike a CAP reform deal before the end of June – despite some difficult unresolved issues.

A deal by the end of the month requires the agreement of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament. Representatives from all three institutions gathered in Dublin this week for an informal meeting hosted by Ireland, which holds the EU presidency.

Sticking points include capping limits for direct farm payments, production-linked subsidies, the way farm support is distributed between member states, a new definition for less-favoured areas, an end date for sugar quotas and help to get youngsters started on the farming ladder.

“Above all, these talks have reinforced my confidence that I will be able to present a package of measures to the council at the end of June that will allow us to finalise a political agreement within the timescale we set for ourselves at the commencement of the Irish presidency.”
Irish farm minister Simon Coveney

Speaking afterwards, Irish farm minister and farm council president Simon Coveney said the meeting was useful, informative and conducted in a positive atmosphere. It was clear all three institutions remained firmly focused on reaching a deal, said Mr Coveney.

“Above all, these talks have reinforced my confidence that I will be able to present a package of measures to the council at the end of June that will allow us to finalise a political agreement within the timescale we set for ourselves at the commencement of the Irish presidency.”

While no agreement was reached in Dublin, European farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos said all sides had shown willingness to compromise. He added: “I am [even] more optimistic than I was three days ago that we can have a political accord on CAP reform in June.”

Paolo De Castro, chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, said much depended on the successful outcome of ongoing EU budget talks and on the ability of the council to compromise on crucial aspects of CAP reform.

The parliament was “prepared to hold negotiations until the very end of the Irish presidency,” he added.

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