Pressure continues to build on CAP future from all angles
This year is a crucial time for the CAP, with discussions on the shape of the policy post-2020 due to intensify.
Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan will publish a paper this year on where the CAP is heading, but Brexit, as well as migration and terrorism, could eclipse a proper discussion on the issue.
“I would be concerned that there isn’t a great deal of headspace, political headspace, to deal with this very fundamental part of Europe’s policy,” says Mairead McGuinness.
There is pressure building, not only on the budget for the future CAP, but on how much it should support the environment, particularly given the EU’s tougher 2030 climate targets.
“The issue of who is getting what from the CAP is very divisive,” continues Ms McGuinness. “The CAP is not a social welfare policy, it is a policy designed around ensuring food supply to European consumers and to support European farmers.”
And, she warns, Irish farmers may soon lose existing payments for areas with natural constraints, such as mountains, known in old CAP parlance as “less-favoured areas”.
“It looks like some areas will be removed from this category of disadvantage, and payments will be removed from some farmers.”