10-11 March 2013

Dublin Castle (view map)

Meeting of Chairpersons of Agriculture and Fisheries Committees of EU Member States and the European Parliament

Topic: The future of the Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies and support strategies for young farmers

Image: Maxwell Photography

EU Committee Chairs consider progress on CAP and CFP negotiations

DUBLIN, 11 March 2013: The Chairs of the Agriculture and Fisheries Committees from the parliaments of EU Member States met in Dublin Castle today Monday 11 March, to engage with EU Commissioners and Minister Simon Coveney on the future of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies.

The meeting was chaired by Andrew Doyle TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and commenced with a detailed discussion with Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD on current state of play in the CAP negotiations.

The second session focussed on improving access and support for young farmers, while an afternoon session on the Common Fisheries Policy was addressed by Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki and Minister Coveney.

Deputy Doyle says: “Today's meeting was a valuable opportunity to engage with counterparts from national parliaments on three issues of critical importance to the sustainability of rural and coastal communities across the European Union. We heard a candid presentation from Commissioner Ciolos, when he outlined the need for a simplified, fair and sustainable Common Agricultural Policy. He expressed confidence that the negotiations would be brought to a conclusion during the Irish Presidency. With talks entering a decisive phase, Minister Coveney reminded delegates that any compromise will be designed to ensure increasing European and World demand for food will be met in a sustainable manner.”

“We then focussed on what policies can attract more young farmers to the industry. In Ireland, there are as many farmers under 35 as there are over 80.  These worrying trends are a serious threat to the sustainability of the agri-food industry across the European Union in the longer term. Dr Karina Pierce, Lecturer in Dairy Production at University College Dublin, said that farming was an ever more sophisticated career path, which required greater environmental awareness and business and IT skills. She said that education systems must continue to keep the curriculum relevant to a changing environment and argued that European policy makers must do their bit to ensure opportunities continue for ambitious young farmers.

“Laurent Frantz, Vice President of CEJA (the European Council of Young Farmers) pointed to the barriers for entry to the farming profession across the EU. He said that easier access to land and credit was critical for attracting more young farmers to the industry and explained that his members deserved a level playing field so that they would be in a position to advance the sector into the future. James Murphy, a young farmer from County Clare, said that the lack of career progression for European farmers was impacting on the attractiveness of the industry to young people. He cited the more structured career path for a dairy farmer in New Zealand as a potential model in making the industry more lucrative to young Europeans.”

“The afternoon focussed on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. There was a broad welcome for recent moves to reduce the number of discards in European Union waters. Minister Coveney mentioned that proposals are underpinned by the need to ensure that there is more fish in the sea. He pointed to the importance of a viable fishing industry to the sustainability of coastal communities, many of which are marginalised across Europe. Commissioner Damanaki pointed to the need for the European Union to support the moderisation of European fishing fleets. We heard her argue that enhanced trawlers and nets would lead to more efficient and sustainable fishing Europe-wide.”

Presentations and a video clip of Deputy Doyle are accessible below. Photos of the event are available on the Oireachtas flickr feed.

View YouTube recordings of the meetings:
Part one (09:00 to 15:00)

Part two (15:00 to 16:00)

Recordings of the meeting are also available, in windows media player format, via the Oireachtas file download service:

For further information please contact:

Paul Hand,
P: +353 1 618 4484
M: +353 87 694 9926

E: paul.hand@oireachtas.ie or

Cáit Hayes,

T: +353 1 6183883
M: +353 87 9190300
E: cait.hayes@oireachtas.ie