McConalogue backs option to limit CAP payments to €60,000 at EU Council

Speaking during his debut meeting of the council of European agriculture ministers, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue backed plans to allow member states the option to limit Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) direct payments to €60,000.

Minister McConalogue told his European counterparts: “[The] proposals would have allowed member states to reduce payments to €60,000.

“I strongly supported the option for member states and I would like to see that flexibility retained, as far as possible,” the minister said.

Minister McConalogue also held a bilateral meeting with European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski.

The minister and commissioner discussed Brexit, trade-related agricultural issues and CAP. Minister McConalogue said he looks forward to working collaboratively with him.

‘Green architecture’

One of the biggest elements of CAP that was discussed was the “green architecture” of the scheme.

One of the elements of the “green architecture” for the new CAP is conditionality. According to the council, in order to achieve the desired higher environmental performance, an “ambitious conditionality system is necessary”.

With regards to this, Minister McConalogue said that Ireland supports a “common baseline conditionality for all”.

“We remain of the view that conditionality should include all statutory management requirements, as set out in the original proposal,” he said.

“Every farmer should implement conditionality. However, we consider that member states may, if they consider it appropriate, choose a simpler but effective system for conditionality controls in relation to small farmers.

“We consider that the current system of penalties applies a proportionate approach for all farmers,” the minister added.