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Future of the CAP: MEPs want to resume work on pre-election reform proposals

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AP)

The Agriculture Committee wants to pick up the work on the post-2020 EU farm policy reform where it was left before the EU elections, MEPs said on Wednesday.

The Agriculture Committee decided today to ask the Conference of Presidents (the EP President and leaders of political groups in the House) to allow it to resume our work on the EU farm policy reform on the basis of what was approved in April this year.

“We must ensure that new MEPs are given a chance to contribute to the draft laws but at the same time, to save time and provide our farmers and consumers with clarity sooner rather than later, we want to avoid starting the debate on the future of the CAP from scratch,” said the Chair of the Agriculture Committee Norbert Lins (EPP, DE).

A two-year delay in the introduction of the next CAP programme has not been ruled out by the Department of Agriculture.

Informed sources have indicated that the new CAP regime may not be agreed and finalised by 2022, and a Department spokesperson accepted that the start date for the next programme was “not certain”.

“Until the Brussels negotiations are concluded it is not possible to give a potential start date for the new CAP,” the Department stated.

Under the original Commission proposals Member States were to lodge CAP Strategic Plans for approval by January 1, 2020. These were then to be approved within eight months, with expenditure under the new plans starting in 2021.

However, this schedule has been totally disrupted by Brexit and its consequent impact on the overall EU budget or the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

It is envisaged that the MFF could be finalised by Christmas, but this process had been complicated by Brexit and the loss of around €10bn that the UK contributes to the EU annually.

Asked if the new CAP programme would be implemented by 2022 or 2023, the Department repeated that the start date was “not certain”.

IFA president, Joe Healy, insisted that transitional budgetary arrangements must be put in place to protect the €650m paid to farmers each year under schemes such as GLAS, TAMS, BDGP and ANC in the event that the new CAP regime is delayed.

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