'CAP budget cuts could be a reality if countries aren't ambitious on environment' - Hogan

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

CAP budget cuts could become a reality if EU countries aren’t ambitious on the environment, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has said.

Mr Hogan said that the Commission will "oppose firmly" any attempt to remove the level of environmental and climate ambition from CAP policy post 2020 as he said it would not be a viable option for the CAP of the future and could have the affect of budget cuts.

“We will have budgetary consequences in my view in the short term and in the long term if we don’t show ambition here,” he stated at an EU Council meeting yesterday.

“If we want to be relevant and acceptance of where agriculture has a meaningful role we have to have another look at this. We’re at a crossroads and the choice of direction is yours.”

He added that he was concerned about CAP proposals coming from EU countries which proposed making eco schemes voluntary for some countries under the post 2020 programme.

“A much higher level of climate and environment commitment is not negotiable. A dilution of climate and environmental ambition is not an option,” said Mr Hogan.

“At the heart of the Commission’s proposal long before it was fashionable in European elections is a commitment to increasing the levels of environmental and climate ambitions in agriculture.

“This is essential if we are to transform European Union farming towards greater sustainability in order to secure its future.”

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This comes as EU officials are becoming increasingly frustrated at the deadlock in post-2020 farming talks.

Changes to CAP - proposed by the Commission last year in a set of three draft laws - are now being directly linked to a deal on the EU's long-term budget, after agriculture ministers issued an ultimatum.

The reforms include a move to limit or cap subsidies, redistribute aid from big to smaller farms, and force governments to prove how EU money is contributing to new climate targets.

A majority of EU farm ministers - from countries including France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark - have refused to negotiate the draft laws until they know how much money they've got to play with in the overall CAP budget for 2021-27.

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