Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Coveney demands more CAP flexibility

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has vowed to fight for the "maximum flexibility" in the manner in which direct payments under CAP are distributed nationally.

Minister Coveney was speaking following the first meeting of EU agriculture ministers on the CAP reform proposals which were published recently by Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos.

At the meeting, held in Luxembourg last Thursday, Minister Coveney highlighted the issue of the distribution of direct payments within member states as the most serious concern for Ireland.


He said the proposal, which would impose uniform national or regional payment rates, would result in "massive transfers" in payments within Ireland from the more productive farms to more marginal and lower productivity holdings.

The minister said he would be looking for "the maximum flexibility for Member States to design the payment model that suits their own conditions".

He said other key issues for Ireland were:

•The distribution of Pillar 2 funds between member states;

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•The transitional arrangements from the current model for direct payments to any new system.

Minister Coveney described the front-loaded nature of the transition process proposed by the Commission as "unacceptable".

"A transition process to any new payment model, whatever that model may be, should be gradual and back-loaded to avoid sudden adjustments and to give farmers time to adjust," he said.


The minister claimed that the greening measures included in the proposals presented by Mr Ciolos -- which link 30pc of direct payments to environmental actions -- would in fact speed up the movement towards a flat rate payment system.

"We need to look at less bureaucratic and simpler means of further greening the CAP," he said.

At last Thursday's meeting each country set out their position on the Ciolos proposals.

Sources in Brussels said ongoing negotiations on the detail within the reform package had yet to begin in earnest.

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