Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Questions (23)

Charlie McConalogue


23. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a €60,000 ceiling for direct payments under the next Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, in order to safeguard small and medium-sized farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5726/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The new legislative proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy 2021 - 2027 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. There will be additional discretion for Member States in configuring the measures available, within parameters laid down in the draft proposals. The new proposals must commit to a more significant environmental ambition than the current CAP schemes, including in pillar I.

Significant changes are being proposed in the draft legislation, particularly when it comes to the area of direct payments. The new proposals include a number of measures relating to distribution of payments, including an overall cap of €100,000, degressivity for payments above €60,000, a complementary redistributive income support and the convergence of payments towards a minimum of 75% of the average payment per hectare nationally.

I have already indicated that I am open to some level of capping. Ireland has already applied the maximum level of degressivity allowable under the current regulations for direct payments over €150,000.

My Department is at present examining these proposals carefully to assess their potential impact on applicants. We need to ensure that any such mechanisms will be simple and straightforward for Member States to administer and that they can be implemented without undue complexity for the farmer.

These are complex proposals. We are in the midst of intensive and challenging negotiations and we still have some way to go before agreement on the proposals will be reached. I will continue to work with the Commission and other Member States to shape these proposals into an effective new CAP.