The European Commission has proposed, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 - 2027, an approximate cut of 5% to the CAP budget post-2020. The proposed cut is unacceptable for Ireland, and I have used every opportunity in the course of discussions at EU Agriculture Council meetings to call for the CAP budget to be maintained.
It is important to note that funding for the CAP is outside the remit of Agriculture Ministers. Negotiations on the MFF proposals are running in parallel to the CAP post-2020 negotiations, and agreement requires unanimity at the EU Council. There are diverging views amongst Member States on the appropriate level for the budget, and further discussion is required before agreement can be achieved. The impact of Brexit further compounds the budgetary issue, with some €12 billion per annum in UK net contributions being removed from the EU budget post-2020.
I have been working with my European counterparts to raise awareness and build consensus around maintaining a strong CAP budget post 2020:
- In May 2018, I co-signed a Joint Memorandum in Madrid, calling 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.
- I have consistently called for an adequate CAP budget to meet the increasing demands being placed on farmers, in particular in achieving greater climate ambition. I have held multiple bilateral meetings with my European colleagues and have also raised the matter on several occasions with Commissioner Hogan.
- Yesterday, at the Agrifish Council in Luxembourg, I joined with 16 Ministers from a number of EU Member States to reiterate the call for the CAP budget to be maintained post-2020, to meet the new challenges faced by European agriculture and forestry.
I will continue to work with my European counterparts with a view to maintaining the CAP budget as the negotiations for the CAP post-2020 and its budgetary allocations progress.