The Commission's report, Northern Ireland in Europe, was launched in Brussels on 3 November 2014 marking an important milestone in a relationship which has deepened ever since the decision in 2007 of then Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to set up a Northern Ireland Task Force within the institution. The Report draws attention to the way in which "the CAP has an important impact across a broad spectrum of rural life in the region". Among the concrete examples of EU agricultural policy contained in the Report is the reference to how "Northern Ireland quality labelling applications were successful for Armagh Bramley Apples, Lough Neagh Eels and New Season Comber potato, thus giving recognition to products that can only be produced under these headings on Northern Ireland rivers or soil".
The origins of the Northern Ireland Task Force lie in the agreement to re-establish power sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland in May 2007 involving the two largest political parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Republican party, Sinn Fein (SF). Commission President Barroso was the first senior international political figure to visit the then incoming First Minister, Dr Ian Paisley (DUP), and his Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness (SF). He offered to set up a Task Force within the Commission in order to examine how Northern Ireland could benefit more from EU policies, and how it could participate more actively in the EU policy process in order to generate greater prosperity.
The NITF has been highly flexible and the initial group of 10 Commission services subsequently expanded to 18. The latest Report is based on a submission made to the Northern Assembly earlier in 2014 on the outcome of the seven years of operation of the NITF. In his personal introduction to the Report, President Barroso said that "The results of our joint efforts under the Task Force are the subject of this report. It attests to a process of progressive integration on the part of Northern Ireland into the European Union's main policy fields."