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Agriculture Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (539)

Patricia Ryan

Ceist:

539. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he will take to minimise the impact of the eco-scheme on farmers' basic payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29447/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The CAP legislative proposals set out the mandatory requirement for Member States to introduce ECO schemes, but farmers can choose whether or not to apply.  However, participation in ECO schemes will allow farmers to maximise their payments.  

The European Parliament and AgriFish Council positions on ECO schemes differ. The Council position advocates a ring-fenced amount of 20% for ECO schemes, along with a two-year learning period at the start of the CAP Strategic Plan to allow Member States avoid any loss of unspent funds due to lower-than-expected take-up of ECO schemes. The Parliament is seeking a 30% ring-fencing amount with no learning phase.  

A significant concern for all Member States is the potential loss of unspent funds in the case of low uptake by farmers.  This is not a situation I want to see.  Current discussions are focusing on how to mitigate this risk.  In addition, I will be encouraging farmers to apply for these Schemes and seeking to make them as simple and practical as possible.

I have been consistent in my approach that I cannot accept a potentially serious risk to the loss of CAP funding with the introduction of new ECO schemes. Member States must have the necessary flexibility to manage this.  

Agriculture Ministers discussed the CAP legislative proposals, including the green architecture, at the most recent AgriFish Council meeting on 26-27 May.  However, following lengthy  and challenging discussions, diverging views remain on key aspects of the CAP, including the green architecture.  Trilogue discussions will continue with the expectation of reaching a final agreement on the CAP at the next AgriFish Council in June.

Ultimately, I want the ECO Schemes to be as farmer-friendly as possible so payments can be maximised.

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