The Irish Farmers Association and the FNSEA this week held a bi-lateral to discuss issues of mutual concern and agreed to work closely in the coming months to influence farm policy.
Led by Christiane Lambert, who is also the President of COPA, and Tim Cullinan, the two teams discussed the latest CAP reform, including the so called ‘Green architecture’, and mainly the proposals to strengthen some GAECs, and to deduct up 30% of every farmers Basic Payment to fund ‘Eco Schemes’.
Conditionality requirements shall not go beyond the current Greening measures. Their implementation shall take into account the farms agronomic and economic realities. Regarding the ‘Eco Schemes”, Presidents Lambert and Cullinan stressed the dual need: on the one hand, the efforts of farmers shall be recognised; on the other hand, the ‘Eco Schemes’ should be based on an incentive approach, to allow access to the greatest number, in order to encourage a real ecological and climate transition.
Both agreed that the eventual outcome has to safeguard the Basic Payment of farmers who are involved in the production of food. “Both organisations will continue to work in Brussels and in their home countries to secure a CAP that recognises that farming must be a commercially viable activity. The CAP must underpin the income of farmers who make such an important contribution to their rural economy,” they said.
A stable and resilient supply of healthy and affordable food for people is and remains the core task of agriculture. The COVID-19 crisis has once again shown the importance of a strong European agriculture and domestic food production for security of food supply.
Christiane Lambert and Tim Cullinan again called on the EU Commission to commit to a proper analysis of Farm to Fork and Bio-diversity strategies which are the European Green Deal. They said such radical proposals, with very significant implications for the production of food, have to be fully evaluated.
IFA and FNSEA can accept the objectives of the Green Deal, provided that there is a reliable path with a fair transition for European farmers, fully taking into account the three pillars of sustainability.
The two Presidents condemned the approach of the EU Commission to trade policy and re-iterated their common view that the Mercosur deal should be set aside.
“Pursuing this policy is penalising European farmers who meet the highest standards. We have been assured that additional imports cannot happen if the Mercosur countries don’t meet our standards, but we know they don’t come near our production systems,” they said.
In the context of Brexit, IFA and FNSEA re-affirmed their commitment to maintaining trade flows between the EU and the UK.