Opinion

Some suggestions on how the EU can cut CAP red tape

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has declared that he will drive forward a process of CAP simplification over the next twelve months and has asked all the relevant stakeholder groups within the various farming sectors to come forward with their own proposals to this end as a matter of priority.

So here we go: first and foremost Ireland – as a whole – should be officially declared greening compliant by Brussels. We are the greenest region of the EU, in every sense of the term, and there is no reason why this cannot be recognised formally by the European Commission.

Secondly, we need to see Brussels give more strategic assistance to those regions of the EU with a higher than average reliance on food exports and specifically in the context of exporting food outside Europe.

China is the obvious example this context. Currently Ireland is being hampered by the mind numbingly slow pace of progress when it comes to securing the veterinary clearances required to allow the trading of beef etc.

In solving this problem, all that’s required is for Brussels to put in place a group of experts specifically charged with the job of interfacing with the Chinese authorities on a day-to-day basis.

Currently, the Irish beef sector cannot gain excess to China because of the red tape involved in getting the required veterinary inspections completed  And, of course, any action that can be taken to fast track food exports from the EU is good news for the specific regions involved and Europe as a whole.

The final issue for Commissioner’s Hogan’s perusal, courtesy of what can be best described as a provisional wish list, is a personal commitment from him to the effect that farmers will never again be expected to pay the bill for any geo-political disputes which Europe finds itself in.

This was certainly the case, courtesy of the row between Russia and the EU over developments in Ukraine. The end result of that ‘spat’ was the introduction of an EU food ban by Moscow, the ramifications of which are still being felt by farmers throughout Europe.

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