There could be a potential 20% cut to European Union (EU) farm subsidies if all nine countries requesting to join the bloc were successful, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned.

In its election manifesto, the IFA outlined that over a seven-year period, EU enlargement of this kind is estimated to cost in the region of almost €126bn in CAP monies.

Ukraine has over 41m hectares of agricultural land which, if successful in joining the EU, would make it the EU’s largest recipient of CAP funds; over €96bn, according to the IFA.

The farm organisation has proposed that a full impact assessment of CAP and the EU single market be undertaken in advance of future EU accession.

“While unlikely any [interested countries] will become full members before the end of the existing CAP programme, two countries, Ukraine and Moldova, are at a more advanced stage, with open negotiations toward accession ongoing since mid-December 2023.

“Careful planning is required, both from financial and trade perspectives, so as to preserve the integrity of EU budgets and the EU single market,” it said.