The president of the ICMSA Pat McCormack has said that those reacting strongly to the European Court of Auditors’ report on the CAP’s failure to lower agriculture related emissions have misunderstood the function of CAP to farming.

“For the umpteenth time, can I just explain to those expressing their shock and horror at the EU Auditors’ statement that CAP (a) was never envisaged or designed to lower agri-emissions and (b) is now being repurposed in a very crude and we would argue ineffectual way to incorporate that aim?

“CAP was designed to ensure the supply of superb-quality food to then EEC consumers in the decades after the war,” McCormack claimed.

The report referred to by the ICMSA president claims that the €100M of greening payments have failed to achieve significant improvements to agriculture greenhouse emissions at EU level.

Low-priced food

McCormack continued: “The direct payments actually functioned as a subsidy to the retailers allowing them to systematically underpay the farmers for the food the retailers then sold on to the consumers. That is how CAP came into being and that it how it functioned.

“The incorporation or ‘bolt-on’ of the sustainability and environmental dimensions was always going to be completely unwieldy and unworkable because the EU was actually making a system with one focus – provision of high-quality food at low prices – into a dual-purpose system: high-quality food and high environmental standards at artificially low prices,” he finished.