Mer­co­sur deal un­likely this year, says Coveney

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

IT NOW looks in­creas­ingly likely that there will be no Mer­co­sur deal be­fore the end of the year, ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Si­mon Coveney.

“ Ten days ago, I was con­vinced a deal was on the cards within six weeks,” he said last week at the ACA con­fer­ence.

“But now I think it is un­likely that there will be a deal be­fore the end of the year.”

Mr Coveney said

that pow­er­ful coun­tries such as France were even more op­posed to a Mer­co­sur deal than the Ir­ish. The min­is­ter added: “ You don't get things done in Brus­sels by bang­ing the ta­ble and mak­ing de­mands. I'm go­ing to fo­cus on build­ing al­liances so that we have al­lies around the ta­ble.”

On CAP re­form, the min­is­ter said that Ire­land was well po­si­tioned to de­fend its na­tional en­ve­lope.

Mr Coveney cred­ited his own depart­ment for pre­sent­ing a con­vinc­ing case in Brus­sels that the av­er­age pay­ment per hectare here is be­low the EU av­er­age.

“Where Ire­land is vul­ner­a­ble is in re­la­tion to the large gap be­tween the farm pay­ments per hectare in the Mun­ster and Le­in­ster com­pared to the rest of the coun­try,” he said.

“Switch­ing to a flat rate here would cause car­nage and dis­rupt our plans to in­crease agri­cul­tural out­put in cer­tain parts of the coun­try.”

How­ever, Min­is­ter Coveney as­sured del­e­gates that Ire­land had al­ready formed al­liances with France and Spain on this is­sue.

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