'We cannot ask people to do more and pay less' – Concerns remain over CAP budget

Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has warned that farmers cannot be asked to do more on the environment while getting less support from the European Union.

Speaking at the Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today (Monday), Minister Creed said he supported the environmental ambition of the Commission proposals for a post 2020 CAP, but pointed to the need for a strong CAP budget if those ambitions are to be realised.

“Farmers produce quality food at a reasonable price, but also provide a range of public goods.

“Our ambitions for the environment and for the agriculture sector are two sides of the same coin, but we cannot continue to ask farmers to do more and more while at the same time proposing to cut the CAP budget.”

It comes as EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has highlighted that the EU is entering 'crunch time' in relation to the EU budget and the future CAP proposal.

He warned that the simple reality is that in budget negotiations framed against unprecedented pressures both outside and inside the EU, the big spending policies will always be first in the line of fire.

"Inside the EU, one of the biggest net contributors to the EU budget is leaving the EU and taking its money with it.

"Outside the EU, we have a very difficult situation of increasing migration numbers and increasing security threats on our borders."

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e percentage of EU funding allocated Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) payments had plummeted by more than 30pc in just over 30 years.

In 1985, the CAP expenditure equated to some 73pc of the EU’s overall budget.

However, this dropped to 41pc in 2016, with the EU Commission proposing a further decrease of 5pc.

The Central Bank said that it is likely the EU Budget will be further affected by the UK's exit, with the loss of their annual net contribution.

As part of its conclusions they say that this, along with the uncertainty of Brexit, will be a considerable challenge to farmers.

Since 2005, CAP payments have accounted for just under 75pc of total farm income.

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