Budget concerns sees agreement on future CAP pushed back

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

An agreement on a common approach to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is set to be further delayed as Member States seek clarity on the policy's future budget.

Following an informal meeting of European Agriculture Ministers this week, Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea told reporters that many of the new regulations are directly linked to plans for the EU's future budget. MFF

"Most ministers have said that we should adopt a position on the general approach when we see the sums foreseen for the CAP," he said.

Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan said tactically and strategically many member states want to know what is in the MFF before we come to conclusions on policy.

"Time will tell whether that is the right decision," he said.

However, the future CAP budget has been under threa, with Günther Oettinger, the EU commissioner for budget and human resources, demanding cuts in farm spending, pointing to the €12bn hole in the EU's finances that the UK leaving will create.

Under plans for the EU's budget for 2021-2027, farmers would receive around €232bn in direct support, a drop of more than €30bn from the current seven-year budget. Member States are not set to conclude discussions on the EU budget till October.

While EU agriculture chief Phil Hogan had insisted a deal could be done by the end of next year, EU officials and MEPs are less confident.

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Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy has said the European Commission and Parliament are being "too ambitious" in their thinking, and that it's likely discussions will not conclude until the new Parliament and Commission are in place next year.

He also says a new agriculture commissioner, who is due to take office later this year, will want to put his or her "own stamp" on the talks.

Earlier this year, Hogan said he does not have a transition plan ready to go if the planned reform of the Common Agricultural policy is not agreed in 2019.

Farmers have raised concerns that the seemingly likely delay in the rollout of a new CAP will undermine low-income farmers.

With ongoing uncertainty around Brexit there is stated INHFA President Colm O’Donnell “the real possibility of any new CAP deal, not starting until 2021 or even 2022.”

In this eventuality he continued farmers with low Pillar 1 payments who are often depending on additional income support from Pillar 2 Schemes such as GLAS or AEOS will need to be protected.

"When previous CAP Programs did not start up as expected measures were put in place to roll over schemes and our Government needs to commit to this and get clarity in Brussels on it if required," he said.

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