GOVERNMENT MUST PROTECT CAP FUNDING – BRENDAN SMITH T.D.

CAPdairy

 

I have repeatedly called on the Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ensure that there is no reduction in funding for CAP post 2020.

Payments made in support of farming through  CAP are an extremely important and vital part of farm income.  With so much downward pressure on prices paid to farmers at present it would not be acceptable in any way to have CAP funding reduced.

______________________________________________
For Oral Answer on : 06/02/2019
Question Number(s): 32 Question Reference(s): 5622/19
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine if indications have been given at recent EU Council of Agriculture Ministers meetings and at meetings with the Agriculture Commissioner in relation to the funding level for CAP post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The EU proposed CAP budgetary ceilings are a part of the wider proposals on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the European Union for the period 2021-2027.  The proposals are ultimately a matter for agreement between Ministers for Finance and Heads of State.  The European Commission has proposed, as part of the MFF, that funding for the Common Agricultural Policy should not exceed €365 billion for the period 2021-2027. This equates to a cut of around 5% compared to the current provision.  Latest reports are indicating that negotiations on the next MFF will not be finalised until Autumn 2019.

I have been working closely with my European colleagues to build a consensus to reverse the cut to the CAP budget and to maintain support to CAP at the current EU 27 level.  In May last year, I, along with my EU Ministerial colleagues from France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Finland signed a joint Memorandum seeking the retention of the CAP budget at current levels.  The Memorandum was presented at the Agri-Fish Council in Luxembourg in June 2018 and up to 20 other EU Ministers have signalled their support to this proposal now.  At the Agrifish Council on 16 July 2018 France and Germany presented a joint declaration on the CAP proposals including a joint rejection of the cuts proposed. This paper was supported by other Member states including Croatia, Romania, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Belgium and Ireland.

I had a further opportunity to discuss the CAP budget at the recent Agri-Fish Council which took place on the 28 January.  I again emphasised the point that we need to ensure an adequate budget for Pillar I and Pillar II.   Over the coming months detailed negotiations will continue at all levels across the EU as we work together to shape the final outcome. At the centre of all our considerations will be the need to ensure that CAP Post 2020, properly funded, will continue to support farm families and the rural economy.

I can assure the deputy that I will continue to work to develop a broad consensus on the value of a strong, fit for purpose agriculture sector, and work to reverse the cuts proposed in the draft MFF.

______________________________________________
For Oral Answer on : 06/02/2019
Question Number(s): 41 Question Reference(s): 5621/19
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the outcome of recent discussions at the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers and with the EU Agriculture Commissioner in relation to CAP reform and funding for CAP post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The new regulations for the CAP 2021-27 were launched on Friday 1 June 2018 by Commissioner Hogan. The proposals, as drafted, involve significant changes, including in relation to governance, the distribution of direct payments among farmers and the increasing environmental conditionality attaching to such payments.

Consideration of the CAP proposals is ongoing at EU level.  Since the legislative proposals were launched in June 2018 a total of 25 Working Group meetings have taken place under the Austrian Presidency.    The proposals are also discussed at the Special Committee of Agriculture meetings on a regular basis.  In addition, CAP post 2020 is also a standing agenda item at every Agri-Fish Council meeting where I have discussed the CAP proposals extensively with my Agriculture Ministerial colleagues.

The Romanian Presidency outlined an equally intensive programme of Working Group meetings to discuss specific aspects of the CAP proposals for the duration of their Presidency.

I had a further opportunity to discuss the proposals at the recent Agri-Fish Council on Monday 28 January. Agriculture Ministers exchanged views on the new performance-based delivery model.  Discussions focussed in particular on the annual deadline of reporting requirements, and  a progressive approach to targets and possible deviations in the first two years of implementation of the new programme.  My Ministerial colleagues and I also discussed the agricultural reserve and financial discipline.   Also on the CAP proposals, we held an exchange of views on the wine related provisions set out in the common market organisation amended regulations, including the possibility of opening the market to new wine grape varieties.  Commissioner Hogan informed delegations about the proposed green architecture.  Also during the CAP discussions, a group of Member States, led by the Slovenian delegation, presented a declaration on having appropriate funding for rural development in the next MFF.

The overall level of the CAP budget post 2020 is a key priority for me.  Member States are facing a 3.9% cut to Pillar 1 Direct Payments funding, and a 15% cut to Pillar 2 Rural Development funding.  This is unacceptable in my view especially in light of the current developing situation surrounding Brexit.  The retention of an adequate budget for the CAP post 2020 is a key priority for Ireland.  The CAP budget is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework for the EU which is a matter for unanimous agreement by Heads of State and Government.

I have been advocating strongly amongst my agriculture counterparts to maintain a strong CAP budget.  I co-signed a Joint Memorandum in Madrid in May last year, which calls for the CAP budget to be retained at current levels for the EU 27 post 2020.  The memorandum has been supported by up to 20 other EU Agriculture Ministers.

We will continue to work together on this issue as the negotiations for the CAP post 2020 and its budgetary allocations progress, and I will continue to seek to secure the best possible outcome for the Irish agri-food sector.