Farmers face plunging incomes in 'worst-case' EU budget cuts
Farmers and less affluent regions face swingeing cuts in EU subsidies post-Brexit unless the bloc can raise fresh cash.
With Brexit set to blow a €14bn annual hole in the EU budget, the European Commission is pressing governments to stump up more or allow the bloc to raise new taxes, including on corporate profits.
Farm bodies reacted with concern to a commission document that outlined a number of options for the new seven-year budget post-2020.
It includes cutting by up to 30pc the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding which provides vital payments to farmers.
Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he did not want "broad cuts" in farm and regional (or "cohesion") spending - which together make up 70pc of the bloc's budget.
"I think we do have to operate cuts in the field of Common Agricultural Policy and in the field of cohesion if we want to meet all the new priorities we have to meet, but I'm not in favour of broad cuts," said Mr Juncker.
Ireland gets around €2bn a year in farm subsidies and less than €500m a year in cohesion funding, most of which goes to the Border, Midlands and West.
In an options paper, the commission suggested ending regional subsidies to well-off countries, including Ireland, trimming an estimated €95-€124bn off the budget.