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Sunday 22 July 2018

Creed tells EU Ministers increasing coupled support payments 'would not be wise'

Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Ireland does not support increasing coupled support payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020.

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed told other EU farm ministers at a meeting in Brussels today that while coupled payments may have a role to play in some vulnerable sectors, he is not sure it would be wise to divert significant sums of Pillar 1 monies into coupled support payments.

"In such vulnerable sectors, efforts should focus on efficiency, market focus and ensuring the market returns a satisfactory price for the end product.

"Improving the position of the farmer in the food supply chain would help in this endeavour," he said.

Minister Creed also said that while in general, Ireland is supportive of efforts to better target direct payments, we must be mindful that the agriculture sector differs significantly across member states.

"Therefore in the spirit of subsidiarity Member States should be given flexibility in the targeting and fairness of direct payments," he said.

The Minister noted that his Department is currently undertaking a detailed public consultation on CAP post-2020 and submissions received will help to influence our national position.

'Stark choices'

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Meanwhile, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan told the meeting that last week's Commission options paper which suggested cuts to the Common Agricultural policy of up to 30pc presented some 'stark choices'.

He said the paper clarified the consequences of those choices and brought into sharp focus increasing Member States contributions to the EU budget if new priorities of the EU such as immigration and defence are to be adequately funded without significant reductions in cohesion and agricultural funding.

Commissioner Hogan also highlighted the issue of external convergence of payments from the CAP.

He said the CAP must play its role in driving equality in the EU and that it should reduce differences in CAP funding between Member States.

However, he highlighted that it is too early to say what should be proposed.

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