Hard-won deal should bear fruit for farmers
WE OFTEN forget that EU farm policy continues to be the mortar in the bricks which holds together the 27-nation trade bloc, stretching from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. But, in a country in which agriculture is still of major economic and social importance, we should not forget that EU farm policy still accounts for 40 per cent of its total budget. And that it delivers some €1.3bn per year in various agriculture-related grants to Ireland's economy.
Last night, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney had the honour of steering through a major overhaul of EU farm policy for the coming seven years, 2014-2020 inclusive.
The deal will see Brussels disburse some €50bn each year for various subsidies, with some reductions in grants paid to bigger farms balanced by increases to smaller operators, and with some additional incentives to support green farming.