Farm subsidies budget is under attack, warns Hogan

European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan delivers the opening address at the annual conference of the Agricultural Science Association in Naas. Photo: Finbarr O’Rourke
European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan delivers the opening address at the annual conference of the Agricultural Science Association in Naas. Photo: Finbarr O’Rourke
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan warned the farm subsidies budget is under "attack" from the competing priorities across Europe.

A review is currently on the table for the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) 2014-2020, which takes up a 38pc slice of the EU budget.

"The 38pc is always under attack when you have other priorities being discussed like defence, security and migration," said Mr Hogan, speaking at the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) conference on the future of agri-food.

"But we do need a well funded Cap," he said, with the EU budget standing at €157.9bn in 2017. Mr Hogan stressed that Cap has stood the "test of time".

"I firmly believe the Cap can and must do more to create rural jobs, contribute to the fight against climate change, and help us to meet the sustainable development goals," he said.

"No comparable EU policy has the capacity to deliver on these targets. I like to say that farmers are our 'boots on the ground' to get the job done."

Mr Hogan said the moves to embrace a more sustainable system of agricultural production should mean asking farmers to improve their level of environmental ambition and also reward them for it.

"There is sometimes a lazy narrative that likes to portray farmers as part of the problem when it comes to addressing the climate challenge, but in reality farmers must be and indeed already are part of the solution."

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In his keynote address, Mr Hogan said the UK needs to accept that the onus to find a "workable solution" to Brexit is its responsibility.

"You cannot have a frictionless Border when at the same time you want to go out of the customs union and the single market," Mr Hogan said.

Mr Hogan said both Brussels and the other EU countries understand Brexit is already having a negative impact on the value of Irish agri-food exports.

He said that "€650m has been wiped off our exports because of currency depreciation".

Irish Independent


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