The inaugural meeting of the new CAP post-2020 Consultative Committee, is taking place today chaired by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.
The Committee will provide a forum to allow stakeholders express their views and remain updated as the CAP reform discussions progress.
Addressing the Committee Minister Creed said he saw the Committee having an important role as we consider how we will deal with the challenges ahead and lead the development of one of the most efficient and sustainable agri-food sectors in the world.
Citing the European Commission’s proposal that at least 40pc of the overall CAP budget post-2020 must contribute to climate action, Minister Creed outlined Ireland’s support for the increased environmental ambition proposed for the CAP post-2020 and highlighted the need for adequate budgetary provision to ensure CAP objectives can be achieved.
Under the Commission’s proposals each Member State’s CAP Strategic Plan for the period post-2020 must include information on the outcome of the consultation with stakeholders as well as how that consultation was conducted.
The Minister said: “In addition to setting up the CAP Consultative Committee, my Department will undertake further public consultation at a later stage in the CAP reform process, in order to ensure that the development of Ireland’s Strategic Plan helps to address the many challenges facing the agri-food sector.”
Some EU countries fear that the extra paperwork and reporting required under the strategic plans (and accompanying progress reports) will overcomplicate an already labyrinthine system.
Other proposals include a rejigged law on emergency aid and market intervention (known as the 'common markets organisation') and a 'horizontal' law on how CAP money is paid out (including advances, sanctions and exemptions).
Some EU countries are also squabbling over what defines a 'genuine farmer' and what type of land will qualify for future subsidies, as well as a controversial €60,000-100,000 limit on direct payments.
The cap is seen as the only way to ensure a fairer redistribution of CAP money from bigger to smaller farmers, and between EU countries (known as internal and external convergence, in EU jargon).
Ireland already applies a voluntary upper limit of €150,000 on CAP payments, and Government figures show that 99pc of eligible Irish farmers received basic payment below €60,000 in 2018.
A group of largely eastern European countries - led by the Czechs - is also lobbying the Commission to double the amount of money set aside for specific sectors and products ('voluntary coupled support').
However, the discussions on the future CAP are inextricably linked to discussions on the EU's 2021-27 budget, which EU leaders want to wind up by this autumn.