There would be a huge draw on the CAP budget if Ukraine joined the EU, Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has told the Irish Farmers Journal.

This comes following the European Council’s decision last Thursday to open accession negotiations with Ukraine.

It is one of nine current EU candidate countries, together with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

Markey argued that by Ukraine joining, there would be less money to go around, describing it as the butter being spread even thinner on the bread.

“It’s hard to see where the money would come out of. Ukraine wouldn’t have the resources to match what they would get out of it, they are a long way away from being net contributors – like us.

“They’re ultimately going to be a huge draw on the budget. It’s hard enough to put a hold on the current budget for agriculture, let alone extend it,” he said.

However in saying this, Markey stressed how Ukraine accession is a long way down the road.

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher echoed these remarks, adding that the CAP budget would need to be significantly bigger and readjusted.

“There’s no chance of Ukraine joining the EU in this current CAP. Firstly, there would have to be a peace process, agreed borders and they would have to meet certain conditions. The hope is that they would join the EU down the line and the best of luck to them.”