Thursday, 6 December 2018

Questions (23)

Peter Burke

Question:

23. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding discussions on the next CAP reform; and his priorities for the next CAP. [51198/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The new regulations for the CAP 2021-27 were launched on Friday 1 June 2018 by Commissioner Hogan. The proposals, as drafted, involve significant changes, including in relation to governance, the distribution of direct payments among farmers and the increasing environmental conditionality attaching to such payments.

Discussions on the CAP proposals commenced during the Bulgarian Presidency and have continued apace under the Austrian Presidency, with up to 20 Working Group meetings taken place so far. Further meetings are scheduled throughout the remainder of this month. The Presidency is currently working through the proposals with the Member States to try and identify areas of agreement.

The CAP Post 2020 has been discussed at the Special Committee of Agriculture meetings on a regular basis. CAP Post 2020 has also been a standing agenda item at every Agri-Fish Council meeting. I had the opportunity to discuss the CAP proposals at our last meeting on 19 November. The CAP proposals will also be discussed at the next Agri-Fish Council meeting on 17/18 December, where the Austrian Presidency will present its progress report on the CAP strategic plans; Financing, management and monitoring of the CAP, and, the common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products.

In general, I have been supportive of the proposals and can in principle agree with the nine key objectives identified for the CAP post 2020. I subscribe to the general proposition that we should have a more modern and simpler CAP that has a strong environmental ambition and that Member States will have greater flexibility in designing measures that are best suited to their own needs.

I am also focused on the overall level of the CAP budget. Member States are facing a 3.9% cut to Pillar 1 Direct Payments funding, and a 15% cut to Pillar 2 Rural Development funding. This is unacceptable in my view. The retention of an adequate budget for the CAP post 2020 is a key priority for Ireland.

I have been advocating strongly amongst my agriculture counterparts to maintain a strong CAP budget. I co-signed a Joint Memorandum in Madrid in May this year, which calls for the CAP budget to be retained at current levels for the EU 27 post 2020. The memorandum has been supported by up to 20 other EU Agriculture Ministers. We will continue to work together on this issue as the negotiations for the CAP post 2020 and its budgetary allocations progress.