Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

New figures suggest Brexit could see EU farm payments cut by €3bn a year

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

New figures suggest EU farm payments could be cut substantially due to the UK’s exit from the EU.

According to Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, a recent technical note by the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, which outlined the way in which farmers in the EU could see direct payment cuts of more than €3 billion a year as a result of Brexit

McConalogue questioned the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed on the steps being taken at EU level to ensure future Common Agricultural Policy funding will be safeguarded.

Minister Creed said it is expected that the UK's exit from the EU will reduce the overall EU budget by between 5 and 10%. 

“This will undoubtedly have implications for future spending decisions in what is already a very tight budgetary framework,” he said.

Notwithstanding this, the Minister stressed that the amount of CAP funding per Member State is fixed until 2020 under Regulations of the Council and European Parliament. 

“Any changes to the current figures will require a co-decided amendment of those Regulations,” he said.

Minister Creed however did say the CAP accounts for some 37% of the EU budget, and said there has been “ongoing pressure from some Member States to reduce this proportion and to divert EU spending to newer policy issues such as migration, external action and development cooperation”.

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The size and distribution of the future CAP budget will be determined as part of the process for agreeing the next EU multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the post 2020 period, discussions on which are due to commence later this year.

“One of the key challenges we see is maintaining a strong CAP budget in the post 2020 period,” the Minister said.

“The future of CAP is an issue of enormous importance for the agriculture sector in Ireland and across Europe.

“The CAP has evolved considerably and very effectively in recent years, in response to changing market, consumer and environmental demands. 

“It also plays a central role in delivering the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth sought under the Europe 2020 strategy.

“It is important that the CAP continues to evolve in a way that supports the achievement of European priorities, particularly in the context of securing a strong CAP budget for the post 2020 period. 

“This can only be achieved by reinforcing the relevance and effectiveness of the policy in helping to achieve broader societal goals. 

“This is something that I strongly believe in and will actively pursue at Council level as the debate on the future CAP and its budget intensifies over the coming months,” he said.

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