Coveney hopes to make CAP coupling decision by October
Agriculture Minister talks CAP reform, trade and targets ahead of Ploughing
As Minister Simon Coveney gears up for a marathon 12-hour visit to the Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska on Tuesday, the Farming Independent gets his views on the big issues that will be on punters' minds during the festival.
The CAP Budget
"There are still some outstanding issues around the CAP budget, because even though the European Parliament have signed up to it in principle, they still want to make a point of giving it their approval. So there is a political agreement on CAP (versus a legally binding one), and the remaining issues are ones that shouldn't materially affect the amount that any individual Irish farmer gets. The main sticking points are still what percentage we should allow to be transferable between Pillar I and Pillar II and degressivity. The latter of these doesn't really matter a damn to Irish farmers, but these are issues that are still in square brackets in the text and have yet to be signed off on.
"The Parliament aren't asking for many changes and we're (council of farm ministers) not willing to offer much. I think we'll get this through within a week."
Domestic CAP options
"This is a genuine effort to get the opinions of people on the ground, so we're not just going through the motions on this. All the farm organisations have put in significant submissions, but I've a pretty clear picture of what I want to do.
"We fought for CAP changes for good reason and you're going to see those reasons come through in the end.
"I hope to achieve a broad consensus that achieves both the potential of the Food Harvest 2020 plan, but also protects vulnerable farm families that are in a position to benefit from the opportunities that the Food Harvest plan offers, be it for reasons of soil types, region or whatever. This latter aim is important to keep the fabric of rural Ireland intact.