Post 2020 CAP reform unlikely to be ready after 12 month extension - Creed

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed

Claire Fox

Post 2020 CAP reform is unlikely to be ready even after the 12 month extension period, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

EU countries are currently working toward an extension of CAP post 2020 negotiations to January 2021, however countries like Germany, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic have argued that a two-year extension is more realistic, with Minister Creed stating his belief that a minimum of years may be needed to get new CAP reform over the line.

“Not withstanding the progress that has been made it’s highly unlikely that the CAP will be ready after a 12 month extension. It’s highly likely that it will be for a minimum of two years and that’s not entirely desirable but that’s the way that I would read it,” Minister Creed told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture members.

“Trying to bring clarity around the position and continued uncertainties is something I will continue to do. Our objective is to protect the funding that is available to our farmers within this reform process and within the EU for the next number of years.”

Minister Creed added that he would like to roll over existing schemes during the transition period and use the time to pilot new initiatives to help farmers reach “challenging and onerous” 2030 targets.

He added that The New Delivery Model proposal is proving very challenging for Member States to reach agreement on in CAP negotiations.

“In general, Member States are in favour of a higher environmental and climate ambition and this is something I have supported strongly myself. The CAP must do more to support environmental action.

“However, there are concerns and diverging views on a number of areas such as the formulation of certain standards for good agricultural and environmental condition of land and the impact on the definition of ‘eligible hectare,” explained Minister Creed.

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He told Oireachtas members that the Finnish Presidency has suggested the introduction of a single common percentage or fixed amount for climate and environmental expenditure across the entire CAP Strategic Plan budget but that it could only be properly agreed upon once Member States know the budget of CAP.

“The Presidency intends for this common percentage to replace the minimum 30pc target under Pillar II expenditure, giving Member States the flexibility to decide how best to allocate their climate and environmental expenditure across Pillar I and Pillar II,” said the Minister.

In general, Member States have considered the Presidency’s suggestion as a basis for further discussion. From my own perspective, there are too few details around the proposal to determine a position at this early stage. However, I have always said that Ireland accepts the increased climate ambition in the next CAP, and we are willing to examine all options that meet this objective.”

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan recently stated that he felt the proposals by the Finnish presidency would “lead to lower environmental and climate ambition” because Member States would prioritise meeting spending targets rather than focusing on action and results.

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