Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will call on his EU counterparts to ensure that vigilance around the cost and availability of farming inputs is maintained over the coming months, as farmers continue to see costs rise.
Minister McConalogue welcomed the measures taken by the European Commission to support farmers through input cost hikes, with mention of a “potential” use of Pillar II funds made in his welcoming remarks.
The Commission last week proposed allowing member states to make lump sum payments to farmers dealing with rising input costs.
“I support the comprehensive nature of the European Commission’s agri food-related response to the impacts arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Minister said on Tuesday ahead of an EU Council of Agricultural Ministers.
“I have welcomed the Commission’s support package, including the provision of exceptional aid, the new temporary state aid framework and the potential use of rural development funding.
“I will also call for ongoing vigilance over the coming months, not just in relation to the cost of inputs but also in relation to their availability,” he said.
The Minister went on to say that he anticipated an update from Brussels on its proposed contribution to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) ministerial conference in June.
He commented that constructive deliberations between world leaders would be essential to maintaining food security and also that the formulation of a food security package by WTO partners was an initiative the Commission would contribute towards.
“I look forward to hearing the Commission’s update on the preparations for MC12 next month. A positive outcome is essential in the context of maintaining global food security and to underscore the very real benefits of a rules-based international trading system,” said Minister McConalogue.
“I know the Commission is working hard with WTO partners on putting together a food security package and I fully support those efforts.
"Food is our most precious resource at times like this and a global, co-ordinated approach is crucial to protect our food chains,” he said.
Minister McConalogue added that the EU must protect the CAP by emphasising that the decoupled payments model did not distort patterns in global trade, if pressed by others at the WTO event.
“Of course, the EU must also robustly defend its interests in the context of the wider WTO agenda, including by protecting key elements of the CAP, such as the non-trade distorting (or ‘green box’) nature of direct payments,” the Minister concluded.