Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, cannot sign up to the CAP reform that is emerging from Brussels.
That is according to IFA president, Tim Cullinan, who spoke following a meeting with the minister in Brussels this morning (Thursday, May 27th).
He said that while nothing has been agreed yet, “the talks are going backwards, not forward”.
“The EU Agriculture Commissioner is trying to turn the CAP into a social welfare payment rather than supporting farmers for producing food,” he said.
“The Commissioner and the EU Parliament want to spread the money to keep a larger number of farmers in poverty. Only one-third of farmers in Ireland are viable. If the EU get their way, we will have no viable farm families,” he said.
“The EU Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski wants to put commercial farmers out of business by cutting their payments. If that doesn’t work, the Commission intends to finish us off with restrictions and regulations,” he said.
Call a halt ‘to the nonsense’
He said that, unfortunately, farming has become a “minority sport” in other member states, but it is the backbone of the Irish economy.
“It is time for our Minister to call a halt to the nonsense,” he said. Nothing has been agreed yet. The minister should shout stop now until an air of reality is brought to matters.”
“The EU Commission set out on a journey in these negotiations to give member states more flexibility.”
“But, now we have an Agriculture Commissioner who wants to remove member state flexibility that existed in the last CAP. It is a complete contradiction, and it is time to stop the charade,” the farm leader concluded.
‘Will cost farmers millions’
IFA president, Tim Cullinan, has warned that CAP proposals will not reward farmers for environmental actions.
He revealed that proposals, particularly around the so-called ‘Eco-schemes’, will cost farmers millions.
The farm leader said the coming days will be “defining ones” for European agriculture, with a “major push” to finalise negotiations.
“The EU is proposing to cut between 20% and 30% from every farmer’s Basic Payment and to only give some of it back. It’s not rewarding farmers; it’s penalising them,” he said.