I have long been opposed to the original Commission proposals for the CAP budget, announced back in May 2018, which proposed a 5% cut to the CAP budget post-2020. I have worked tirelessly with my European colleagues to successfully build a broad alliance to support the maintenance of the CAP budget for the next programming period.
Much of this has focused on the increased environmental ambition being asked of farmers as part of the CAP post-2020 proposals. We cannot ask our farmers to do more for less. The European Green Deal initiative and the recently published Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies set further climate and environmental targets that all sectors, including the agriculture sector, will have to achieve. The CAP post-2020 will be the mechanism that the agriculture sector will use to deliver on these targets.
In this context, I welcome the latest proposals from the European Commission of an increased CAP budget for the period 2021-2027 in the revised European Multiannual Financial Framework accompanying the new European Recovery Programme.
The new proposals represent a significant advance on the original Commission MFF proposal of May 2018. The revised proposal for the CAP sees additional funding being added to bring funding levels to some €375 billion (current prices), with a further special injection of rural development funds – of some €16.5 billion - from the new Next Generation EU fund, bringing the total allocation to €391 billion for the period 2021-2027.
The new MFF proposals will play an important role in supporting the economic recovery of Member States. However, these latest proposals are complex and my Department is examining them in detail so that we can fully understand the precise implications for our agri-food sector.