EU Regulation 1307/2013 governs the operation of the Basic Payment Scheme National Reserve. This regulation provides that the two categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ must receive priority access to the Reserve. In the context of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government, Ireland consulted with the EU Commission regarding the possibility of including the group commonly referred to as Forgotten Farmers under the ‘specific disadvantage’ category of the 2017 National Reserve, which had been established using funding derived from a linear cut to the value of all farmers’ payment entitlements. The EU Commission confirmed at the time that Member States could not use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund a specific disadvantage category of the National Reserve.
The Commission confirmed at the time that the only funding option for the ‘specific disadvantage’ category was natural replenishment of the Reserve, such as from unused entitlements or the proceeds of clawback, but only after the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ had been catered for.
EU Regulation 2393/2017 (Omnibus Regulation) came into effect in January 2018 and introduced a new possibility for the inclusion of ‘specific disadvantage’ categories into the National Reserve. From 2018, Member States may use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund ‘specific disadvantage’ categories of the Reserve, but only if a linear cut is required to fund the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ in that particular year. As there was sufficient funding available in the National Reserve in 2018 and 2019 from natural replenishment of the fund in order to cater for the two priority categories, the issue of a linear cut did not arise.
The option of a linear cut to fund the National Reserve involves a cut to the value of all farmers’ payment entitlements in order to provide for the reallocation of such funds to National Reserve beneficiaries.
Proposals regarding new regulatory arrangements for CAP post-2020 are still subject to ongoing negotiations. In this regard, the position in relation to the National Reserve post-2020 cannot be confirmed until such time as the regulatory provisions for CAP post-2020 are agreed and in place.