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Saturday 10 December 2016

IFA calls on Smith to reject CAP proposals

Declan O'Brien

Published 12/10/2010 | 05:00

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos (second from left) addressed the association's national executive during his Irish
visit. Among listeners were the IFA's Michael Treacy (left), IFA president John Bryan (second from right) and IFA general secretary Pat Smith
EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos (second from left) addressed the association's national executive during his Irish visit. Among listeners were the IFA's Michael Treacy (left), IFA president John Bryan (second from right) and IFA general secretary Pat Smith

The IFA has called on the Government to "totally oppose" the CAP reform proposals contained in the leaked communication from the EU Commission.

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IFA president John Bryan claimed the Commission proposals would be devastating for the single farm payment for productive farms across all enterprises.

"The proposals would seriously undermine agricultural production in Ireland, with damaging consequences for the rural economy, agricultural output, food exports, jobs and farm incomes. They must be rejected by the Government," he said.

The IFA leader insisted that the options included in the Commission's leaked document would lead to a major shift in farm supports from the high-cost production systems in Ireland and Western Europe to the low-cost economies in Eastern Europe.

Mr Bryan described the proposal to move the Disadvantaged Area scheme from Pillar II to Pillar I of CAP as "totally unacceptable".

"It will undermine and dilute this vital support which sustains farming in difficult land areas," Mr Bryan said.

He called on Ireland's MEPs to come out strongly and reject the Commission's proposals, which will damage Irish agriculture and Irish farmers.

"The Irish MEPs must use their co-decision powers to reject any proposals which will reduce the level of CAP support to Ireland," he said.

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Meanwhile, Ireland East MEP Mairead McGuinness labelled the leaked Commission paper as disappointing.

"It sets out three separate options, one threatening revolution, one evolution and another more of the same. It raises more questions than it answers and lacks both detail and substance," Ms McGuinness said.

"It does contain a stronger environmental theme, it sets out minimum payments to farmers, capping of payments, environmentally linking top-up payments. But, it is completely devoid of figures and analysis," she said.

"It outlines three options varying from an enhanced 'status quo' shifting payments more evenly between member states.

"But, it also proposes leaving the current direct payment system in place, a more balanced, targeted and sustainable level of support -- which could include a co-financing element and a recoupling of some payments to farmers," she added.

"More worryingly, the paper also discusses abolition of market support and income support measures -- phasing out direct payments, giving only limited payments for environmental public goods and for specific natural constraint payments.

"There is no mention of the EU budget framework which the reformed CAP will face. This is expected from the Commission on October 19."

While the draft leaked document had not received the formal approval of the Commission, Ms McGuinness pointed out that it gave some indication of what may lie ahead.

"The leaked document is an indication of what is to come. I would hope that the Commission lives up to its commitment to Irish farmers that the reforms would be more evolutionary, not revolutionary," she said.

Irish Independent



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