'EU's agriculture budget is going to be a problem' warns McGuinness
MEPs and farmers have hit out at rumoured moves to trim EU agricultural spending post-2020.
European Parliament president Antonio Tajani was forced to deny last week that he was working on proposals to shift Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds to pay for migration, defence, jobs and climate change, following a report in Politico.
Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness said Mr Tajani had "never made any declarations - either in public or in private - with regards to possible cuts to the EU agricultural budget."
European Commission officials also expressed surprise at the report.
But Ms McGuinness said that EU countries, including Ireland, will have to "have a conversation" about whether they are willing to contribute more to the budget once the UK leaves the EU.
"If Europe wants to be stronger in a post-Brexit era, it will look at spending more," Ms McGuinness said.
She also said that the priorities of CAP spending will have to change given the EU's climate commitments. "The overall budget for agriculture is going to be a problem," she told the Farming Independent. "The reorientation of the CAP to make its goals more climate smart, more climate friendly," she said, "is also something we should focus on."
EU farmers' federation Copa and Cogeca met the bloc's budget commissioner, Günther Oettinger, last week, telling him to maintain agriculture spending "at current levels".