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Monday 24 July 2017

Hogan pledges to protect farming in post-Brexit EU

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Collins Courts
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Collins Courts

Sarah Collins

EU agriculture chief Phil Hogan has promised to "adequately fund" farming post-Brexit.

Kicking off talks on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) last week, he said there was a "case to be made" for a strong farming budget despite ­pressures from migration and Brexit.

"Maintaining the highest food standards in the world does not come for free," Hogan said at the launch of a public consultation on the future of the CAP. "Preserving our European family farm and its model does not happen without strong policy support."

But once the UK leaves the EU - the working assumption is 2019 - the EU budget will lose 12pc of its funding.

Farmers are under pressure from falling prices, with the Commission saying in a report last year it could also be hammered by future trade deals - particularly with South America.

"Brexit and all the other issues will have to be taken into account, in view of the fact that the UK are net contributors, to a view of about €10bn into the European Union budget," Hogan said.

"If EU solidarity means anything, then the budget shortfall must be made good so that farmers are not hit with CAP cuts when the UK leaves," the Irish Farmers' Association said in a statement.

But environmental groups want EU farm payments overhauled, as they say the bulk go to the largest, most polluting farmers.


The Commission admits that 80pc of money goes to only 20pc of farmers. Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy says most Irish farmers receive less than €10,000 a year. As part of the consultation, the ­Commission will look at five options, most of which include a much greater focus on EU climate targets. The public consultation runs until April.


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