IFA President Joe Healy said the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Commissioner Hogan are facing a big test in their talks with President Juncker between now and the setting of the CAP Budget in early May.
“Under no circumstances can Ireland contemplate any of the options set out in an EU Commission budget document published today as they would shut down agriculture and rural Ireland.”
The document sets out a number of options for the EU budget post 2020 including maintaining funding at existing levels, cutting CAP funding by 15% or cutting CAP by 30%.
Mr. Healy said it was unbelievable that the Commission would even consider such options. “This is a clear attempt to ‘soften up’ the European agri sector for a cut in the CAP budget. It is totally unacceptable and it won’t work. Irish farmers cannot be penalised because of the decision of the UK to leave the EU.”
“Ireland cannot a contemplate anything other than an increase in the CAP Budget. IFA has make a strong case for each Member State to increase its contribution to the EU Budget. This proposal has already been accepted by a number of Member States and we expect the Irish Government to step up with a similar commitment.”
IFA is proposing contributions to the EU budget from Member States must increase from 1 to 1.2% of Gross National Income, to reflect the impact of Brexit on the one hand, and the improved EU economic conditions on the other.
“Since 1990 the percentage of overall EU budget that is going to the CAP has fallen from 70% to 38% and the real value of payments to farmers has fallen as they haven’t kept pace with inflation. A further cut would be a disaster for agriculture and rural Ireland,” he said.