EU makes no budget provision for crisis tillage fund

There is no provision made for an emergency tillage fund in the EU’s draft budget for 2017, according to Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada.

But there is sufficient flexibility within the national envelope from Brussels to allow the Irish government act on this matter, if it really wanted to, she said.

“I see no reason why Dublin cannot look at this funding option, given the crisis now facing cereal growers in parts of the country.

“In fact, Ireland is very poor in drawing down the money that is available to it from the EU. Its management of the current LEADER programme is a case in point.”

Ni Riada sits on the EU Parliament’s Budget Committee and said that the draft budget for 2017 is due to be signed off before the end of this month.

“In terms of the big ticket items, I can confirm that CAP will account for 40% of total spend next year and, within this, €100m has been specifically allocated for a crisis dairy fund.

“There is some concern that the proportion of the EU budget dedicated to agriculture will come under pressure. But this is for the medium to long term. More worrying, though, is the growing use of financial instruments by the EU Commission, which side step the influence of the Parliament.

“The Parliament has the power of co-decision where the budget is concerned. But this is not the case when the Commission looks at funding options which are based on financial instruments. The most well-known of these is the Juncker fund, which comprises €8 billion of EU funding with the remainder coming from commercial investment sources.”

Ni Riada admits that the United Kingdom’s pending departure from the EU will leave a bit of a whole in Brussels’ finances.

“When the UK’s rebate is taken fully into consideration, the fall in revenues might not be as large as most people currently think,” she added.

“But, despite this, there may still be a requirement for the remaining 27 Member States to increase their contributions to the EU by a small amount.”

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