‘Brexit could lead to a fall in the European Union’s CAP budget’

A potential Brexit could lead to a fall in the European Union’s CAP budget, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Assistant Secretary Brendan Gleeson.

UK voters are set to cast their ballots on June 23 to decide whether they want the UK to stay in or exit the EU.

Gleeson said the prospect of a Brexit would apply “significant downward pressure on the EU budget.”

He also said that the UK is a significant contributor to the EU and the CAP budget and a ‘no’ vote would have a profound impact on Ireland and the EU.

Some estimates suggest a reduction of the EU budget of between 5-10% and the CAP is 37% of the total EU budget.

Gleeson said that the UK is a major destination for Irish agri-food exports, as almost €970m worth of dairy products and €1.1m worth of beef were exported to the Britain in 2015.

“We know that this isn’t one way traffic, our agri-food imports from the UK were valued at €3.8 billion of which nearly €470m were dairy products and €100m were beef products,” he said.

The Department representative said that the beauty of the single market is that there are no complex certification requirements, quota limitations and custom duties or tariffs between Ireland and the UK.

However, Gleeson said if the UK votes to leave the EU nothing will happen immediately as the exit process will be complicated and will take more than two years.

We have started to analyse this in the Department and there is no end to complications.

But, if the UK votes to stay in the EU, he said that from an agri-food view point things would carry on pretty much as they were before.