Social Democrats TD, Holly Cairns, has asked Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, what “steps he is taking to introduce fairness” in basic payments in the new CAP.
The Cork South West-based TD called on the minister to make a statement on the matter in a parliamentary question on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021.
Responding to the query, the minister said:
“The process of agreeing the regulations for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) programming period is ongoing at EU level.”
“My Department continues to play a proactive role in this process. Under the current proposals, a new Basic Income Support for Sustainability will replace the current Basic Payment Scheme.”
“I am acutely aware of the importance of the financial support provided under these direct payment schemes for Irish farmers and am committed to ensuring that my department continues to implement such schemes in a fair manner.”
“For example, I have always been clear in my support for the capping of payments as a key tool to support a fair distribution of payments.
CAP reform proposals
McConalogue highlighted the CAP reform proposals presented by the European Commission in June 2018 included several mandatory redistributive proposals for direct payments.
- Capping and degressivty;
- Increased convergence of payments;
- A redistributive scheme to support sustainability.
Continuing McConalogue, said:
“During the negotiation process, the Agrifish Council of Ministers has adopted a position which supports the optional inclusion of these schemes as part of a suite of measures that member states can select from depending on their particular national circumstances.”
“This allows member states, who have vastly different farm structures, to make the optimum choices for their circumstances.”
“The Trilogue negotiations on these proposals are ongoing and the final shape of the CAP regulations and the options available to member states will not be clear until this process is concluded.”
“As this process develops, I will continue to engage with stakeholders on this issue with a view to ensuring that the developing EU regulations include a suite of measures which will enable us to ensure the fair implementation of these vital financial supports,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, in other CAP-related news, French farmers are staging a series of protest to express their dismay in their battle for a fairer income.
FDSEA, France’s largest farmers’ union, and Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) organised a demonstration last week over the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
In a joint statement, they said, Ile-de-France farmers “attached to the future of their profession” are protesting to give “a first warning to the government”.
“As part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the decisions that are looming at the Ministry, will directly impact French agriculture.”
The farm groups have warned that the European CAP reform will see a “good number of farmers cease their activity”. Farmers have called for a CAP “for farms, not firms”.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein MEP Chris MacManus, estimates that a final CAP agreement could be reached in the next eight weeks.