High-earning farmers to lose out in new CAP deal, warns Coveney
Published 27/09/2012 | 05:00
HIGH-earning farmers will lose the most in a forthcoming overhaul of subsidies -- but lower earners will get more, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said yesterday.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Heathpark near New Ross, Mr Coveney said getting a deal on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was the most significant challenge of his career.
He also warned farmers he cannot ringfence national funding for agriculture in the forthcoming Budget.
Mr Coveney said he is pushing for CAP reforms which would see the highest-earning Irish farmers losing part of their single farm payment. But lower earners would gain and those in the middle would stay close to the current average payment of €275 per hectare. It would be a compromise between the European Commission wish for flat-rate payments per hectare and the more limited redistribution being sought by Ireland.
EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos wants a redistribution of payments to help eastern European farmers catch up with western ones.
Mr Coveney believed he can secure a deal during Ireland's EU presidency next year.
"In many ways it's the most significant challenge of my political career so far," Mr Coveney said.
It would be a difficult to get a compromise deal for 27 countries, but Ireland has support from Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark and France, he said.