Commission unmoved despite Irish CAP pitch
Farm bodies make case to retain status quo but Ciolos says change imminent
The EU is continuing on its mission to create a more 'equitable' CAP, which is likely to lead to a squeeze of the Irish single farm payment pot.
This was the clear message from EU Agricultural Commissioner Dacian Ciolos on his visit to Ireland last week.
"The current system is not justifiable after 2013," he said. "It sees considerable differences in the rate of aid that farmers get from one member state to another. Direct payments must be more equitably distributed among member states, regions and types of agriculture."
Before the enlargement of the EU, there were 5.7m farmers, according to Eurostat. This increased to 13.7m with EU expansion.
While the commissioner was adamant that direct payments would remain a part of the support system, he was clear that change was on the way, especially in relation to the issue of inactive farmers in receipt of EU monies.
"The ways these payments are distributed will be adjusted," he said before adding, "direct payments must evolve towards targeting active farmers".
Despite this, the farm organisations reiterated their stance on keeping the existing historical-based payment system. IFA president John Bryan told the commissioner that the current CAP support system best suits Ireland.
The ICSA was more critical of the commissioner's comments. "Commissioner Ciolos was strong on the principle of decoupled supports but fuzzy on how to replace the historical reference period with a better system," said ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin.