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IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed today’s Dail vote rejecting the EU Commission Mercosur deal.  He said the Dail vote sends a very strong message to the Taoiseach and the Government that Ireland must reject this deal.

IFA is also intensifying its campaign in Europe to reject the deal.

IFA President Joe Healy, Livestock Chair Angus Woods and Poultry Chair Andrew Boylan met with representatives of the French, Belgium and Polish farmers’ organisations in Brussels yesterday as part of a campaign to build a European alliance against the Mercosur deal. Joe Healy said IFA in conjunction with the other EU farm organisations have put forward proposals on an EU action plan against the Mercosur deal. The IFA delegation also met with the newly re-elected first vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness.

Next week, IFA will meet with all of Ireland’s newly elected MEPs in Strasbourg.

“This deal will require the approval of the European Parliament. We believe that resistance to this sell-out deal is growing across Europe” he said. The leaders of COPA, the European farm umbrella body, of which Joe Healy is vice-President, will also meet next week to discuss the deal.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said, “European beef farmers consider Mercosur was a sell-out deal for the sector”.

IFA National Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan said, “This deal undermines European quality assurance and promotes double standards”.

Vice-President Katainen in Helsinki to attend informal Environment Council and the Finnish Government’s EU Affairs Ministerial Committee

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, will be in Helsinki, Finland on 11 and 12 July. Today, the Vice-President will meet Ms Tytti Tuppurainen, Minister for European Affairs of Finland, to discuss the Finnish Presidency of the Council, the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Rule of Law, in addition to other topical EU issues. He will also meet Mr Mika Lintilä, Minister of Finance of Finland, to discuss topical economic and financial issues. On Friday 12 July, Vice-President Katainen will attend the Finnish Government’s Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs. He will also participate in the Working Session on Circular Economy of the informal meeting of the Environment Ministers. Finally, he will visit Fortum Corporation to discuss the Circular Economy. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229 56153; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976)

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

Following an IFA lobby day of TDs & Senators on the sell-out EU Mercosur trade deal, and last night’s debate in the Dáil, IFA President Joe Healy said Fianna Fail has confirmed that they will vote against the Government on a Sinn Fein motion re the Mercosur deal due to be voted on tomorrow.

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IFA President Joe Healy said the re-appointment of Phil Hogan as Ireland’s EU Commissioner is an opportunity for Ireland to secure a portfolio that allows Ireland to have the maximum influence on EU policy.

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Since the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform of 2013, the administrative costs linked to the CAP did not substantially increase for farmers, representing 2% of the total aid received. As for costs for national authorities, they are estimated at around 3% of the CAP budget, having increased by a third since the implementation of a new system to control and manage payments in 2013. Those are among the main findings of the study ‘Analysis of administrative burden arising from the CAP’, published today by the European Commission.

The general objective of this study is to examine the costs and administrative burden, including the effectiveness and efficiency, of current systems for managing and controlling a large share of common agricultural policy (CAP) expenditure. Specifically, the study analyses and assesses different elements of the integrated administration and control system (IACS) as well as Land Parcel Identification System, related control mechanisms, and costs associated to cross-compliance. Cross-compliance is a set of basic rules, setting the standards for public, plant and animal health and animal welfare that farmers have to follow to receive income support.

According to the study, the CAP administrative costs are below or similar when compared with other EU policies. For example, the overall rate for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are estimated at 4%, while the overall administrative costs of the EU represent around 6% of the total EU budget.

Furthermore, the study found that the average annual costs of IACS is estimated at €10 per hectare of utilised agricultural area (UAA). For the EU as a whole, this represents between €1.7 billion and €1.9 billion. This includes 14% linked to set-up costs, 12% to running costs, and 74% to management and control costs.

As for cross-compliance, the study found that compared to the previous period, costs as a percentage of direct payments received have decreased. Main costs are linked to personnel, IT investments and risk analysis.

When looking at administrative costs for IACS per Member State, they vary greatly, ranging from €2 to €208 per hectare of UAA. The study concluded that several factors influenced those differences between countries such as the size and structure of its agricultural sector, the organisational structure of the national authorities and choices over information technology systems. More specifically the data revealed considerable differences between large and small Member States, with costs higher for smaller ones. This can be explained by smaller Member States benefitting less from economies of scale.

Findings from the study also found that automation, digitalisation and new technologies for management controls help reduce CAP administrative costs and burden. It has already shown results with the Land Parcel Identification System for example, an IT system based on photographs of agricultural parcels used to check payments under the CAP. Another technology that could be further exploited to decrease administrative burden is remote sensing, used as part of the control regimes of some Member States. It has led to a reduction in the number of physical inspections in the field and more targeted use of resources when inspectors need to be deployed on-farm.

However the study also found that uptake of electronic systems highly depend on the Member State. The uptake is extremely slow in some countries. To improve this, it might require infrastructure investments to increase access to broadband in remote rural areas.

At beneficiary level, as a percentage of total CAP support received, the administrative burden is estimated at 2% on average. The study found that this varies depending on the size of the farm, its complexity (livestock, arable, permanent crops, mixed…), the number and types of support received as well as the amount of payments.

The study concludes its analysis with some recommendations, including encouraging the use of technology to reduce administrative costs and that Member States add analysis of those costs to their CAP strategic plans put forward in the post-2020 CAP proposals.

More information

Evaluation study on analysis of administrative burden arising from the CAP

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