Farm Ireland

Thursday 19 April 2018

EU Ministers - direct payments could be simplified and aimed at active farmers

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Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

European Agriculture Ministers meeting in Bulgaria today said direct payments could be more targeted at active farmers.

During the debate ministers underlined the importance of direct payments and considered that their design could be further improved by making them fairer, more targeted and effective for farmers across the EU.

Speaking to journalists after the Council of Ministers meeting, the Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture said that Ministers had discussed how direct payments could be targeted in a more focused way and at active farmers.

"A one size fits all is not an optimal solution," he said, and that Member States should choose fairness and focus in their own national context.

The Ministers also called for a higher environmental ambition of the CAP provided that farmers are adequately rewarded for the provision of these public goods.

Today's meeting also heard ministers emphasise the need to maintain vital and resilient rural areas, in particular by creating jobs, promoting growth and favouring generational renewal in the farming sector.

The European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said however that he could not comment on future funding of the CAP until after the Multiannual Financial Framework update of May, which will set out the annual expenditure of all EU policies from 2021 to 2027.

EU exports, he said, for 2017 had seen them reach record level of €137.9bn, thanks mainly to exports to the US, Russia and Asia inc Japan and China.

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He said it shows the value of Europe's offensive interests in international trade, its competitiveness and the high quality food Europe produces.

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