'CAP delays a further possibility as reform vote not taking place until April'- McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness MEP
Mairead McGuinness MEP
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

The European Union will not vote on CAP reform files until April which will may delay the implementation of CAP reforms said MEP and Vice President of the EU Parliament Mairead McGuinness.

Ms McGuinness tweeted her concerns this morning, which stated that the schedule of the votes on the three CAP proposals in the Agri Committee will begin at the start of April, with the new parliament elected in May due to have the final say.

“The European Agri Commitee will not vote on the CAP reform files until April....this has implications for timing of implementation of the reforms. The new Parliament elected in May will have the final say,” Ms McGuinness’ tweet said.

Both Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness and Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy told a recent INHFA CAP meeting that agreeing a CAP package by 2020 was not going to happen and that transitional arrangements would have to be introduced in the interim.

Meanwhile, speaking at a CAP reform discussion meeting at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture in January, Fianna Fail Senator Paul Daly also questioned if it would be possible to get the CAP legislation over the line by 2020.

“We are facing in to a possibility of Brexit and all hands will be on deck both here and in Europe which could delay CAP with that issue. The EU parliament elections will be on in May and the possibility of a completely different parliament make up to what there is now,” he stated.

Colm Hayes, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Agriculture stated that everyone is still working on the basis that the deadline is January 1 2020 but said that there is always a possibility that CAP could get rolled over.

“If you factor the obligation on us to do a strategic environmental assessment and the fact that the budget may not be concluded until very late this year which looks like a possibility, then I think we are all up against it but we are working on basis that January 1 is the deadline we have to meet,” he said.

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Capping of payments proposed under the post 2020 policy has also caused much debate among farm organisations. The European Commission is proposing a reduction of payments above €60,000, with compulsory capping for payments above €100,000.

IFA is not opposed to the capping proposal from the Commission and says it is in favour of the salary exemption if there is more than one member of the family working on the farm.

This is in stark contrast to the to the INHFA, which says the maximum direct payment should be capped at €60,000 with no allowance for labour units to be used to "bring up payments".

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