Brussels is due to sign off on its end of the CAP reform in the coming weeks, which will signal the beginning of a major fight at national level for co-financed funds.

The IFA wants the Irish Government to maximise the portion of money that it can put in to match EU funds for rural development schemes.

In total, the EU will provide €2.45bn from 2021 to 2027 for these schemes to supplement direct payments. The Exchequer has to match these funds to enable them to be drawn down.

This could require as much as €3.2bn from the Government

The IFA is clear that it expects the €1.5bn committed to agriculture by the Government from carbon tax to be completely separate to co-financed funds.

Draft CAP proposals have set the EU’s portion of co-financing at 43% for the bulk of all schemes. This could require as much as €3.2bn from the Government to maximise its 57% commitment.

Different rates

However, there may be different rates depending on the nature of the scheme. For example, the European Commission says it is willing to contribute 65% of funds for environmental and climate schemes, with the European Council seeking an 80% rate.

Offering schemes of this nature would reduce the amount of funds national governments would have to stump up to maximise draw down.