20 Mar 2013
IFA SAYS COMMISSIONER MUST MOVE TO RECOGNISE FARM COUNCIL DECISIONS ON CAPUncategorized
Following the conclusion of discussions at the EU Farm Council in Brussels last night (Tues), IFA President John Bryan said Commissioner Ciolos is becoming more and more isolated in defending his flawed proposals, including flat payments, and it is time for him to respect the views of the Farm Council.
John Bryan said Commissioner Ciolos must now accept the democratic decision reached by Europe’s Agriculture Ministers, and change his position to reflect the reality of the outcome from the Farm Council. “As President of the Council, Minister Coveney must make it clear to Commissioner Ciolos that his proposals will not get through, and must be changed to reflect the flexibilities negotiated in the Council.”
John Bryan said the decisions reached in Brussels provide important flexibilities for Ireland, which include approximation, variable greening and coupled payments. “However, tens of thousands of farmers will still lose significant amounts from their Single Farm Payment. IFA’s position remains that there should be minimum re-distribution over the longest timeframe, with objective criteria to target payments to farmers who have increased their production.”
The IFA President said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must remain firmly focused on securing the best deal for Irish agriculture and Irish farmers. “This week’s meeting was important in terms of securing majority agreement of the Farm Council. The next phase, involving the European Parliament and the EU Commission, will be equally important, particularly in terms of maintaining the flexibilities secured to ensure Ireland can apply the right payment model for our farmers in the final deal”.
Mr Bryan said IFA has consistently rejected flattening and regionalisation, and opposed minimum payments as they will cause major disruption at farm level and damage production. He said the Single Farm Payment must reward farmers for their hard work and investment in producing food.
John Bryan said Member States now have the option of choosing 2012, 2013 or 2014 as the new reference year. The number of entitlements would then be equal to the number of hectares declared in the selected reference year. He said, “By choosing 2012 as the reference year, Minister Coveney can remove all of the unnecessary and distorting land market speculation, which is damaging productive agriculture”.
The IFA President again called on the Minister to make a firm commitment to provide 50:50 co-financing for the Rural Development Programme. On Disadvantaged Areas, John Bryan said the Minister must use the flexibilities in the criteria to retain the maximum area currently designated.