At the October 2019 Agri-Fish Council, the Finnish Presidency presented a ‘state-of-play’ paper on the CAP post-2020 reform package, where my Ministerial colleagues and I exchanged views on the key issues that are deemed to require further consideration.
While funding for the CAP is outside the remit of Agriculture Ministers, 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. This memorandum was widely supported by 20 other EU Agriculture Ministers. At the October 2019 Agri-Fish Council, I joined with 16 EU Agriculture Ministers 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 have always stated that the proposed cut is unacceptable for Ireland. I have used every opportunity in the course of discussions at EU Agriculture Council meetings to call for the CAP budget to be maintained.
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 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.