Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (350)

Brendan Smith


350. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the present funding levels for CAP will be maintained pending the completion of the new CAP programme post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53721/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The issue of continued funding for the CAP post-2020 in the period before the new strategic plans come into effect will be informed by the outcome of the parallel negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, as well as the arrangements that will be agreed for the transitional period that will arise between the current and future CAP framework.

As regards the MFF, the European Commission has proposed that funding for the CAP should be set at €365 billion, which equates to a cut of approximately 5%.  I have previously stated that this is unacceptable for Ireland and I continue to work with my European counterparts to build consensus around the need to maintain a strong CAP budget post-2020. As recently as this week, I again took the opportunity at the Agri-Fish Council to emphasise the fundamental importance of protecting the CAP budget.  

It is clear that there are divergent views among Member States on the appropriate level for the budget.  Some (including Ireland) have indicated their willingness to increase their national contributions to the EU budget, once they contribute towards areas of added European value, while others feel equally strongly that the current proposals, such as they are, are too costly.  

As regards transitional arrangements, the Commission recently presented proposals for transitional rules to bridge the gap between the current CAP and the CAP post-2020.  2021 will be the transitional year, and the proposals are made assuming funding for 2021 at the level proposed under the MFF. This is normal practice when there are delays in finalising the EU budget and CAP proposals.  Discussions on the proposals are continuing, and are not expected to conclude until mid-2020.