Creed expresses concern over income tests for future CAP payments

Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed expressed Ireland’s concerns over proposed income tests and labour input assessments being used as criteria for future EU farm payments.

He made the concerns known at a Council of Agriculture Ministers discussion on the post CAP 2020 proposals in Brussels.

Under the proposals each country will also have to apply more stringent definitions to ensure only genuine farmers receive support.

The precise definition will be left up to each Member State to decide, based on a number of factors such as income tests, labour inputs on the farm, the object clause of businesses and/or their inclusion in business registers.

The definition must ensure that no support can be granted to those whose agricultural activity forms only an insignificant part of their overall economic activities or those whose principal business activity is not agricultural.

However, it should also not result in precluding support to pluri-active farmers, who are actively farming but who are also engaged in nonagricultural activities outside their farm, as their multiple activities often strengthen the socio-economic fabric of rural areas.

Expressing concerns with regard to areas where Member States are given some latitude, but where discretion is circumscribed by text, the Minister continued “I have previously referred to the definition of the ‘genuine farmer’. I fear that the definition proposed, and the prospect of income tests or an assessment of Labour inputs on farm, will lead to significant operational difficulties and further complication, rather than simplification.”

 Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine Michael Creed T.D., also welcomed the support of the German Ministry for Agriculture for the maintenance of the CAP budget.

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Speaking after the meeting, Minister Creed said “I warmly welcome this significant intervention by the German Agriculture Ministry in the debate surrounding the proposed Budget for the CAP post 2020.

“I have been working with Ministerial colleagues for months now across the EU in an attempt to build consensus amongst Member States for the importance of securing the CAP budget. Having met with the German State Secretary for Food & Agriculture, Dr Hermann Aeikens, this morning I’m extremely pleased to note that the position of the German Ministry is now, that they refuse the proposal to cut the CAP Budget.”

 The German position is outlined in a joint statement prepared by Germany and France and further builds on the Madrid declaration, as supported by 20 EU Member States, all calling for the protection of the CAP budget.

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