Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (481)

James Browne

Ceist:

481. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the proposed €97 million cut to the CAP budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8307/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

There are budgetary challenges facing the CAP post 2020, arising not only from the UK's decision to exit the EU, but also from the need to address other EU policy priorities such as migration and security. I would point out that in discussing the funding for the CAP post-2020, we should bear in mind that these discussions are taking place as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) post 2020 negotiations, agreement on which is ultimately a matter for Finance Ministers and EU Heads of State and Government.

I am focused on the overall level of the CAP budget post 2020. The MFF post 2020 proposals outline a 3.9% cut to Pillar 1 Direct Payments funding, and a 15% cut to Pillar 2 Rural Development funding. This is unacceptable in my view. The retention of an adequate budget for the CAP post 2020 is a key priority for Ireland.

There is a possibility for Member States to contribute more to the overall EU budget, to mitigate against the cuts proposed in the MFF post 2020 proposals. The Taoiseach has previously indicated that Ireland would contribute more to the EU budget but only if that funding contributes towards the European ideal. The CAP is one such policy. It contributes to job growth and enhancement of the position of the European rural population, delivers on public goods and, post 2020, it will contribute even more towards helping the EU meet its climate and environmental objectives. However, this cannot be achieved without an appropriate budget in place.

I have been advocating strongly amongst my agriculture counterparts to maintain a strong CAP budget. Along with counterparts from France, Spain, Finland, Portugal and Greece, we have called for the restoration of the CAP budget for the 2021 – 2027 period to current levels. Up to 20 Member States have joined this alliance and we will continue to work together in an effort to build consensus on this point.

I recognise that to achieve the best outcome, we need to seek common ground with like minded Member States. Ireland will continue to seek to build alliances as the negotiations for the next CAP and its budgetary allocation progress and I will continue to fight for a strong CAP budget.