Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 23 July 2017

Mercosur deal unlikely this year, says Coveney

Agricultural Consultants' Association's general secretary Breian Carroll, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and ACA president Pat Minnock take a break from the proceedings at their annual Conference at the Red Cow Hotel, Dublin
Agricultural Consultants' Association's general secretary Breian Carroll, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and ACA president Pat Minnock take a break from the proceedings at their annual Conference at the Red Cow Hotel, Dublin

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.

Demands

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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