As part of the multi-annual financial framework, MFF, for the period 2021 to 2027 the European Commission has proposed a reduction of approximately 5% in the CAP budget post 2020. As this proposed reduction is unacceptable for Ireland, during discussions on the post-2020 CAP at EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meetings I have taken every opportunity to call for the CAP budget to be maintained.
Yesterday, I joined 16 ministerial counterparts in reiterating the call we made in mid-2018 for the post-2020 CAP budget to be maintained at current levels. While I acknowledge that many people believe this degree of ambition is not overwhelming, it reflects the reality that there are insufficient levels of support for increasing the budget. That is why we are seeking to have it maintained at current levels. During a discussion on potential CAP measures to support carbon sequestration at an informal Council meeting in Helsinki at the end of September, I made the point that higher levels of climate ambition must be matched by a strong CAP budget post 2020. We cannot keep asking our farmers to do more for less money. At previous Council meetings, I called for an adequate CAP budget to meet the increasing demands being placed on Irish and European farmers.
I have held a large number of bilateral meetings with my ministerial counterparts on this issue. I have participated in joint initiatives with other member states, such as the joint memorandum that was agreed in Madrid in May 2018. I have discussed the matter with Commissioner Hogan on a number of occasions. These efforts will continue over the coming months as negotiations on the post-2020 CAP and the future budget intensify.