Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Questions (32)

Brendan Smith


32. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if indications have been given at recent European Council of Agriculture Ministers meetings and at meetings with the European agriculture Commissioner on the funding level for CAP post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5622/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The EU proposed CAP budgetary ceilings are a part of the wider proposals on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the European Union for the period 2021-2027. The proposals are ultimately a matter for agreement between Ministers for Finance and Heads of State. The European Commission has proposed, as part of the MFF, that funding for the Common Agricultural Policy should not exceed €365 billion for the period 2021-2027. This equates to a cut of around 5% compared to the current provision. Latest reports are indicating that negotiations on the next MFF will not be finalised until Autumn 2019.

I have been working closely with my European colleagues to build a consensus to reverse the cut to the CAP budget and to maintain support to CAP at the current EU 27 level. In May last year, I, along with my EU Ministerial colleagues from France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Finland signed a joint Memorandum seeking the retention of the CAP budget at current levels. The Memorandum was presented at the Agri-Fish Council in Luxembourg in June 2018 and up to 20 other EU Ministers have signalled their support to this proposal now. At the Agrifish Council on 16 July 2018 France and Germany presented a joint declaration on the CAP proposals including a joint rejection of the cuts proposed. This paper was supported by other Member states including Croatia, Romania, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Belgium and Ireland.

I had a further opportunity to discuss the CAP budget at the recent Agri-Fish Council which took place on the 28 January. I again emphasised the point that we need to ensure an adequate budget for Pillar I and Pillar II. Over the coming months detailed negotiations will continue at all levels across the EU as we work together to shape the final outcome. At the centre of all our considerations will be the need to ensure that CAP Post 2020, properly funded, will continue to support farm families and the rural economy.

I can assure the deputy that I will continue to work to develop a broad consensus on the value of a strong, fit for purpose agriculture sector, and work to reverse the cuts proposed in the draft MFF.