Irish farmers will have to wait another month for an agreement on CAP reform as negotiators in Brussels look to have fallen short at the final hurdle.
It had been hoped that a deal could be struck by the end of the week but farm ministers including Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue say a compromise is not yet possible.
Speaking in the early hours of Friday morning Minister McConalogue said: “We’re just finished up after two long nights and two long days of trilogue negotiations between the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission on the next seven-year CAP programme.”
“Unfortunately it hasn’t reached agreement. There’ll be more discussions tomorrow morning but the Council finished this evening without agreement and it will have to wait now until the next time the Council recommences.”
Trilogue negotiators will meet again on Friday morning Brussels to agree the next steps but there will be no further meetings of farm ministers. It appears they will return home before gathering again in Luxembourg at the end of June to try strike an agreement.
Minister McConalogue said: “I worked very hard to try and get an agreement but it had to be one that worked for Ireland and worked for Irish farmers.
“Importantly it had to give us the flexibility to ensure the next CAP would be one that we can actually have significant capacity to influence at national level and be sure it works for our national agricultural model.”
During late night talks between ministers, the Portuguese presidency outlined that issues over eco schemes and their budget remained the main sticking point.
While the Parliament was willing to accept a ringfenced budget of 25% from direct payments, it was not happy with suggested flexibilities in the event of insufficient take-up among farmers.
European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski said he still hoped a compromise could be found.
“The Commission wants to come out of this trilogue with an agreement. The discussions have lasted for three years and it is time to bring them to the end,” he tweeted.