'EU budget rules hampering investment in smart farming and investment' - Naughten
Ireland looking for additional leeway to meet 2030 climate change targets
The government is seeking leniency on EU budget deficit rules and extra funding to help meet its 2030 climate targets.
Environment minister Denis Naughten (pictured) said EU rules are hampering investment in smart farming, climate-friendly transport and renewable energies.
"It restricts the ability of governments to actually borrow to help to meet our 2030 targets," Mr Naughten said, "and we have significant amounts of money that will be required to be spent between now and 2030 if we're going to reach those targets.
"So the Commission has to meet us halfway in relation to that," he told the Farming Independent.
EU rules say budget deficits should not go beyond 3pc of GDP, and that spending should not outpace economic growth. Governments can be fined if they exceed the limits.
But the Irish Government is seeking to bend the rules when it comes to infrastructure investment.
It would mean, for example, keeping loans or guarantees from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the bloc's long-term lending arm, off the Government's books. Ireland will be looking for extra EU and EIB funding to help meet its targets.
"We are being set very aggressive targets for 2050 and for 2030.