Independent view: Ciolos wins a reprieve over Mercosur deal
There was good news for Irish farmers on Mercosur this week with Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos confirming that progress on a deal with the South American trade bloc had been delayed until the end of the year.
The commissioner was speaking to journalists during a tour to his home region of Transylvania in Romania. He briefed a number of European and agriculture correspondents on his CAP reform priorities and other related topics.
While the commission-organised trip concentrated on issues of policy, it also afforded interesting glimpses of Ciolos the man.
Ciolos said his own interest in farming was honed as a child when he spent every school holiday from the age of six to 18 working on his grandfather's farm.
He said that working the land with his grandfather was "something natural" for him and not something he had to do.
He went on to study agronomy in the university city of Cluj before further studies in the French cities of Rennes and Montpellier.
During his studies in Cluj he continued his interest in growing vegetables, setting up a greenhouse with a specialised irrigation system.
Working with crops and animals gave farmers a greater "sensitivity to living things", he said.