EU rejects change to SFP 'greening' spend
But Commissioner Ciolos to re-examine 2014 reference year plan
The EU Commission has ruled out any change in the proportion of farm payments which must be spent on the proposed 'greening' element of CAP.
However, in an exclusive interview with the Farming Independent ahead of his visit to the IFA's AGM in Dublin tomorrow, EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has opened the door to re-examining the controversial 2014 reference year proposal.
It has been proposed by the Commission that 30pc of the national envelope for direct payments -- around €380m in the case of Ireland -- must be allocated to greening measures.
This has been opposed by farmer representatives, but Commissioner Ciolos insisted that greening was an "investment for the future and a new contract between farmers and society as a whole".
"Some people seem to imply that our greening measures will be taking money away from farmers. In fact, it is more the other way around," Commissioner Ciolos said.
"In the context of economic hardship and cuts in public spending, I think it is vital that we make clear to taxpayers that the CAP is not just for farmers, it is for all citizens -- and that farmers provide a number of key environmental public goods which are not remunerated by the market," he added.
There was better news for Irish farmers on the proposal to make 2014 the reference year for future single farm payments (SFP), which farmer representatives have warned will cause havoc in the land-rental market.
Commissioner Ciolos said he was aware of the particular difficulties this caused for Ireland and that he was seeking to address the issue.