Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 19 November 2017

MEPs hold the key to finalising deal on CAP

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

MEPs are gathering in Brussels today to decide whether they will attend the final days of negotiations on CAP reform in Luxembourg next week.

The presence of the MEPs during the last stages of the talks are seen by many as crucial to securing a deal in the next 10 days.

The parliamentarians are threatening not to travel to Luxembourg unless they are reassured by the EU Commission and the Farm Council that their co-legislative powers under the Lisbon treaty are respected.

However, even if the MEPs agree to travel to Luxembourg to be part of the negotiations, it is likely that a final deal will not be unveiled until Minister Simon Coveney, as President of the farm council, and Commissioner Dacian Ciolos travel back to Brussels to secure an agreement from the European Parliament.

WIRE

The crucial issues of front-loading and what level a minimum payment will be set at look set to go down to the wire.

The IFAhas reiterated its stance on minimising the amount of money that is redistributed from farmers on high payments as a result of this reform.

"Redistribution must be minimised and targeted at active farmers with low payments," said the IFA president John Bryan yesterday.

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The Irish Presidency tabled a new set of proposals on greening over the weekend, with the aim of providing increased flexibility to farmers in terms of the measures they take in order to qualify for the 30pc of their payment that will be linked to environmental measures.

The concept of 'front-loading' the first 30ha of land farmed by each farmer is said to be gathering support, but there has been no progress on what percentage of the national average the minimum payment would be be set at in the final agreement.

FLATTENING

The rate of internal convergence, or flattening, is also still "very much in play" according to Ireland East MEP, Mairead McGuinness. However, it appears at this stage that steady and continuous convergence to a minimum payment somewhere between 50-75pc of the national average will be required throughout the seven-year period from the start of this new CAP term. Degressivity and capping, where payments above €150,000 will be progressively cut up to a final cut off of €300,000, are also being hotly debated.

"We owe it to farmers to get a deal at this stage, since the uncertainty that a protracted negotiation process is creating at farm level is not healthy," said Ms McGuinness.

Irish Independent