IFA President Joe Healy said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has to use today’s meeting of the 28 EU Agriculture Ministers in Brussels to secure a guarantee that there will be no cuts in CAP payments next year as part of the transition arrangements.
“Any cuts would be unacceptable. Farmers need certainty, given the importance of direct payments to support their income. Minister Creed needs to get Commission backing and support from other Ministers for Agriculture for a transition that at least maintains existing payments for 2020,” he said.
The transition rules are necessary because the new CAP rules, which include National Strategic plans, will now not be agreed in time.
The next EU budget is also not agreed and the Commission’s proposed transition plan, to impose the reduced draft budget proposed by the Commission on the existing CAP, in their so-called ‘old rules-new money’ proposal could see cuts of 4% under Pillar I and 15% under Pillar II.
“In relation to rural development measures, the Minister must give guarantees to the 37,000 farmers in GLAS who are finishing next year. Mechanisms must be put in place to ensure these payments are protected into 2021,” he said.
“Today’s meeting is also an opportunity for Minister Creed to make a strong case for the next CAP Budget, in which there cannot be any cuts to farm payments, either through a cut in the overall budget or through convergence. Farmers cannot afford to take these cuts; the Taoiseach and the Minister must put their foot down now and say they will not accept it,” he said.
“If farmers are going to have extra asks imposed on them, there has to be a bigger budget that also takes account of inflation,” he said.