An additional €50 million has been secured for Ireland’s allocation under the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) compared to the current allocation, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Dara Calleary has asserted.

In his first ministerial sit-down interview with a farming news outlet, newly-appointed Minister Calleary discussed a number of pressing issues – in conversation with AgriLand editor Jim Breen and news journalist Sylvester Phelan.

Also Read: Calleary interview: ‘I personally believe in convergence of CAP payments’

Speaking in Agriculture House on Tuesday, July 21, the new minister said:

Our team is working through that [CAP]. Obviously, it was 4:30am in the morning when the final agreement was done.

We’re €50 million ahead [of the allocation for Ireland under the last CAP], based on ‘current prices’.

I think – in the context of where it could have gone; in the context of the UK departing – the reduction in [MFF] budget and the debate over the weekend in terms of the ‘frugal four’ – I think it’s a pretty good result.

We’re going to work now to flesh out the bones [of the policy budget] which moves into what the new CAP will look like. I was in Brussels yesterday [Monday, July 20]; I thought it was important to travel.

It was the first physical meeting since lockdown and the first meeting of the German presidency.

They have indicated that they want to try and get an agreement by the October council on the general framework of CAP.

That will be on the budget; we can start fleshing it out and I’ll be having early engagement with the farm organisations here.

We’ve a lot of work to do in a relatively short window.

Dáil debate on CAP

In the Dáil last night, Wednesday, July 23, Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs Thomas Byrne explained to TDs the details of Ireland’s allocation:

“The CAP budget for Ireland is protected. Damaging cuts were originally proposed during the negotiations and they have been reversed.

The starting point back in 2018 was a 15% cut in rural development expenditure and a 4% cut in direct payments; but, in terms of the new proposal, Ireland’s expected allocation for CAP is approximately €10.7 billion in ‘current prices’ for the next Multiannual Financial Framework [MFF] for the next seven years.

“That is actually a small increase in ‘current prices’ on what was there previously,” the minister added.

Conflicting analyses

It should be noted that there have been conflicting analyses from different entities – i.e. government bodies and farm organisations – with regard to how the budgetary allocation for the next CAP (2021-2027) compares to the existing programme (2014-2020).

Also Read: Table: How much CAP money is earmarked for farmers over the next 7 years?

Some of this confusion and conflict stems from the fact that the European Council presented its “agreed” budget for the CAP, as part of the wider MFF, in two different formats.

One approach refers to ‘2018 prices’, while the other refers to ‘current prices’. In other words, one doesn’t factor in projected inflation over the seven-year lifespan of the programme; the other does.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for further articles (on other pressing topics) from our extensive interview with the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine…