'No transition plan ready to go for CAP' - Hogan

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan has said that he does not have a transition plan ready to go if the planned reform of the Common Agricultural policy is not agreed in 2019.

"I don't see the need for it yet, he said in Brussels on Monday, "I think we still have sufficient time in the council and the parliament to get a result over the line in time and on budget."

"The timing process is still on track to the process completed in 2019 with the right political will," he said.

Between Brexit, EU elections, a post-2020 budget stalemate and growing fears about the avalanche of paperwork the new CAP will bring with it, MEPs and EU agriculture ministers are taking their time over the talks.

Under the new rules, EU governments will be required to submit "CAP strategic plans" each year, setting out how they intend to use EU money (which will require prior approval from the Commission). They will also have to provide "performance reports" to show they are meeting nine EU-wide targets, which all have climate-related elements.

MEPs in Parliament's agriculture committee are currently arguing amongst themselves over the new measures, adding close to 5,000 amendments to the Commission's draft proposal.

The European Parliament won't vote on their final position until after the European Elections. And with the European elections threatening to see in more Eurosceptic MEPs in May, a deal could be even more difficult to get later on in the year.

Farmers have raised concerns that the seemingly likely delay in the rollout of a new CAP will undermine low-income farmers.

With ongoing uncertainty around Brexit there is stated INHFA President Colm O’Donnell “the real possibility of any new CAP deal, not starting until 2021 or even 2022.”

In this eventuality he continued farmers with low Pillar 1 payments who are often depending on additional income support from Pillar 2 Schemes such as GLAS or AEOS will need to be protected.

"When previous CAP Programs did not start up as expected measures were put in place to roll over schemes and our Government needs to commit to this and get clarity in Brussels on it if required," he said.

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