CAP 2020: Greater responsibility for member states welcomed by Minister Creed

The greater responsibility placed on member states to create individual Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans, outlined in the new CAP 2020 proposals, has been welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Minister Creed was responding to the communication – entitled ‘The Future of Food and Farming’ – issued by the European Commission yesterday (Wednesday, November 29) on the future of CAP.

He welcomed the publication of the new range of proposals, which he added outlines a “broad vision and template for the CAP after 2020”.

Commenting on the communication, he said: “In principle, I welcome the push for greater subsidiarity for member states for the very reasons set out in the communication that ‘in the EU’s highly diversified farming and climatic environment, neither top down nor one-size-fits-all approaches are suitable to delivering the desired results’.”

The minister also welcomed the commitment that direct payments should remain an essential part of the CAP, as they provide an important safety net for family farms and ensure there is agricultural activity in all parts of the EU.

The importance of direct payments is evidenced by the results of the 2016 Teagasc National Farm Survey, which indicate that they account for an average of 75% of family farm income. I note the communication has set out a number of possible options to improve the targeting of direct payments.

“The communication considers that CAP should increase its level of environmental ambition in terms of delivery of public goods related to soil, water, biodiversity, air quality, climate changes and the provision of landscape amenities; a principle to which Ireland can subscribe.

“While the existing CAP already delivers significant levels of public goods across many of these areas, further work can of course be done in this area.

“I strongly support the European Commission in its desire – as set out in the communication – to decrease the bureaucracy and administrative burden for both national administrations and farmers.

“I continue to regard the maintenance of a strong, effective and well-financed CAP as essential to ensure that the CAP continues to deliver in terms of: maintenance and protection of family farms; production of high-quality safe food to the highest standards; development of rural areas; employment creation; and delivery of public goods,” he said.

Minister Creed also added that the future CAP will underpin and play a major role in the delivery of Ireland’s agri-food strategy – Food Wise 2025.

Noting that it was early days in the negotiations, the minister said: “I and my officials look forward to engaging constructively with Commissioner Hogan, his officials and other member states over the coming months and years to ensure the appropriate policy framework is in place for CAP post-2020.”