IFA Chairman Jer Bergin has demanded that the CAP simplification measures introduced by EU Commissioner Phil Hogan are available to Irish farmers and implemented for the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme application.
At a recent meeting with the EU Commission it was clearly pointed out to IFA that the measures can be introduced this year but it would now appear that Minister Coveney is having second thoughts on some aspects.
Jer Bergin said that while it would appear that the yellow card system and the new rules on eligibility penalties will be in place, the pre-checking of applications, as outlined by Commissioner Hogan, is being put on the long finger. This is unacceptable as the pre–checking of applications is a fundamental change that will allow farmers to amend their applications following checks and prevent mistakes. This will ensure a higher clearance of applications leading to a higher payout when BPS payments commence in mid-October.
Jer Bergin said that the reduction in the tolerances where the overclaim is greater than 3% is a welcome development as the previous regime was not fair or proportionate. In future where the overclaim is greater than 3% and less than 10% the sanction will be 1.5 times the percentage overclaim with a 50% reduction in the amount of overclaim. As part of the yellow card system, a farmer will be checked in the following year and if everything is in order there will be no further sanctions. This check will be mainly by remote sensing.
In the case of farmers where the overclaim is greater than 10%, 1.5 times the percentage overclaim will apply. Previously where the overclaim was over 20% farmers lost all of their payment. This was totally unacceptable and unfair. It was also confirmed to IFA by the Commission that all farmers will start with a clean sheet in 2016 with regard to new regime on tolerances.