asked Her Majesty's Government:How Northern Ireland agriculture and fisheries have been promoted in each of the 10 new member states of the European Union since 1 May 2004. [HL1450]
The interests of Northern Ireland agriculture and fisheries are promoted in European Union negotiations with the other member states by the UK Government. The Minister responsible for agriculture and rural development in Northern Ireland contributes to UK policy by means of ministerial meetings with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved administrations. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development maintains a policy presence in Brussels. The Minister responsible for agriculture and fisheries in Northern Ireland and senior DARD officials regularly attend agriculture and fisheries councils where there is contact with representatives of the new member states.Invest NI assists Northern Ireland fish processing companies to exhibit at the European Seafood Exhibition, a major trade event which takes place each year in Brussels. This event permits Northern Ireland fish processing companies to showcase their produce to the wider European Union including the 10 new member states.Research to determine the potential for seafood companies to access the Maltese market has been carried out under the seafood development programme, which is managed jointly by Northern Ireland Seafood and the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, BIM.More generally, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials bring Northern Ireland expertise to a range of agriculture, veterinary and scientific projects in the new member states. The majority of these projects are sponsored through Northern Ireland Public Sector Enterprises Ltd (NI-CO).