Ireland 'willing to introduce further capping of farm payments'
The Irish Government is willing to introduce further capping of large EU farm payments and said plans to allow farmers to deduct labour costs would undermine such cuts.
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed told a meeting of his fellow Agriculture Ministers that the Irish Government is open to capping and that Ireland has introduced mandatory capping at €150,000 as part of the current Common Agricultural Policy.
However, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, Phil Hogan warned that such an approach would undermine the commonality of the CAP and the level playing field between EU farmers.
Describing capping as a sensitive issue, Minister Creed said "we are willing to implement further capping but this must be done in a straight forward manner.
He said a key issue for Ireland is that proposals to deduct labour costs must be voluntary for member states.
He said Ireland considers that the deductions would undermine the proposals on capping and that it would also be cumbersome to administer.
Minster Creed, however, did say that while Ireland is open to capping it believes policy imperatives mean the EU should not cap eco payments or payments to young farmers.
In its CAP reform proposals announced last year, the European Commission is proposing a reduction of payments above €60,000, with compulsory capping for payments above €100,000.