Regional Interests Must Not Be Forgotten Says Committee

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 14 September 2011

Reference: AGR 02/11/12

Reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must recognise regional interests, the Northern Ireland Assembly Agriculture and Rural Development Committee said today.

The Committee, which held its first meeting of the new session, discussed the implications of CAP reform for Northern Ireland and, in particular, the UK Government’s position on CAP reform.

Speaking after the meeting, Committee Chairperson, Paul Frew MLA said: “The Committee is concerned that the forthcoming reform of the CAP could have a far-reaching impact across a broad spectrum of Northern Ireland’s rural economy.

“The UK Government’s position on CAP reform is that direct payments and market support should be phased out. This could have damaging consequences for a region, like Northern Ireland, which is so dependent on agriculture.

“I will be writing on behalf of the Committee to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee at Westminster, asking that Committee to recognise Northern Ireland’s position. I will also be requesting that the ERFA Committee makes representations to Secretary of State Caroline Spelman, that she be mindful of regional, as well as national, interests when involved in any negotiations on CAP reform on behalf of the United Kingdom.

“I also plan to write in similar terms to the relevant Committees in Scotland and Wales and to inform Northern Ireland’s MPs and MEPs of the position the Committee is adopting. The Committee will continue to keep the matter under review.”

“CAP provides critical support which underpins the viability of all aspects of our rural economy. The Committee is determined to ensure that this important role is not diminished.”

ENDS

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