The European Commission has pulled back on significant cuts to farm payments proposed in February of this year for the next CAP.
European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan told the Irish Farmers Journal that agriculture would be allocated €391.4bn over the next seven years, an increase of €8bn on the €383bn dedicated to the last CAP.
Under the budget outlined by the Commission, funding for direct payments will fall marginally but the EU plans to boost rural development schemes by €15bn. In total, it has set aside €100bn to spend on schemes across the EU over the next seven years.
The proposals for the next CAP budget are an improvement, but they still represent a cut of 9% in real terms from the current period
The movement of money away from direct payments and towards rural development schemes is driven by the ambitions in the new Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
However, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said the proposals fall well short of covering inflation and extra requirements that the Commission wants to impose on farmers.
“The proposals for the next CAP budget are an improvement, but they still represent a cut of 9% in real terms from the current period,” Cullinan said.
Cullinan has called on the Government to insist on further increases in the budget to take account of inflation.
There are still a number of hurdles that need to be cleared before the Commission’s proposals are adopted. It has to secure the backing of the European Council, made up of the leaders of each member state, and MEPs in the European Parliament.
Given the urgency of the situation facing Irish farmers, it is essential that agreement on the new MFF is reached as quickly as possible
It hopes to have the budget ready for January 2021.
Commissioner Hogan said: “Given the urgency of the situation facing Irish farmers, it is essential that agreement on the new MFF is reached as quickly as possible.”
IFA president Tim Cullinan said the new ambitions under the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies had to be matched with additional funds.
Cullinan said: “The next EU Council will be the first real test of our new Government, if we have one in place. Whoever the Taoiseach is, will have to insist on a bigger budget to provide farmers with a viable income.”