Farmers call for EU solidarity as Brexit set to leave black hole in CAP budget

Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The European Commission this week launched the first phase of the modernisation and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with the opening of a three-month public consultation.

First launched in 1962, the Common Agricultural Policy is one of the EU's longest-standing policies and has evolved over the years to meet the changing challenges of agricultural markets.

The current CAP runs up to 2020, until the end of the bloc's long-term budget, and is worth around €56bn a year to farmers across the bloc. Ireland gets around €1.5bn.

Phil Hogan has warned of a €3bn “black hole” in the Common Agriculture Policy (cap) after Britain leaves the European Union.

The extent of the expenditure on the CAP was already under question, before Brexit ever became a concern.

Responding to the launch of a public consultation on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) today, IFA President Joe Healy said the fundamental focus must be on ensuring farmers achieve viable incomes in return for the high quality food they produce, and their efforts towards protecting the rural environment and supporting rural development.

“Strong funding for the CAP budget is justified by the multiple benefits the policy brings for all European citizens, in terms of sustainable food production, environmental protection and economic development.”

He warned against any reduction in the CAP budget as a result of Brexit, saying “if EU solidarity means anything, then the budget shortfall must be made good so that farmers are not hit with CAP cuts when the UK leaves”.

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Healy welcomed Commissioner Hogan’s commitment to making CAP less complex and building on simplification measures in the review, saying he hoped this would reduce the unnecessary stress burden on farmers.

The IFA President also welcomed Commissioner Hogan’s indication that he is seeking to develop additional instruments to strengthen farmers’ resilience against volatility.

He said any such instruments must be in addition to effective market support measures to protect farm incomes in times of market collapse. “CAP must ensure that family farms are sufficiently protected and equipped to deal with the extreme volatility they are exposed to from multiple sources, including price fluctuation, weather, animal health issues, and political events.”

IFA will be consulting widely with members in preparing its response to the consultation on the future CAP.  

Online Editors