A vote will take place in a full sitting of the European Parliament today (Tuesday, November 23) that is expected to give the final green light to the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The new CAP deal was agreed at the end of June by negotiators from the parliament and the European Council, with the European Commission acting as a mediator.

Now, after the parliament’s lengthy legislative process, the final vote will take place today.

The vote will follow a debate with Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski this morning. The results of the vote are expected to be announced at 4:00p.m.

Despite the vote only taking place today, member states – including Ireland – are already well underway in developing their national strategic plans for how they will implement the new CAP.

This has often been a tense affair, with farm organisations offering different – and often negative – views of the new CAP. However, there have also been more positive reactions from some organisations on certain facets of the deal.

As has been covered exhaustively at this point, the main changes in the next CAP, (which will run from 2023 to 2027) are:

  • A new eco-scheme to be funded through the Pillar I budget;
  • Front-loading payments on the first 30ha, to be funded by 10% of Pillar I;
  • A rate of convergence of basic payments to be set at at least 85% of the national average payment. In Ireland, this figure will be the minimum 85%;
  • Capping of payments. In Ireland, our draft strategic plan proposes an “effective” cap of €66,000;
  • 3% of Pillar I will be reserved for young farmers;
  • On Pillar II, at least 35% of national funding will be reserved for agri-environmental measures. In Ireland, the draft strategic plan proposes a new Agri-Environmental Climate Measure (AECM) as a replacement for the Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), to be based on the Results-based Rural Environmental Agri Pilot (REAP);
  • Changes to some measures of compliance under the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs).

A mentioned above, the reactions to these changes from farm organisations have been mixed.

Most recently, just this weekend, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) organised a convoy of tractors through Dublin city centre as part of a campaign to highlight their concerns (this was supposed to be a larger event but the current Covid-19 case numbers prevented this).

Speaking at that event, IFA president Tim Cullinan said that their campaign would continue.

“This is our third day out [in recent weeks] but if this government is not going to get up off its backside and listen to us as farmers, this campaign will continue,” he said.

“I will be liaising with my officers [in IFA] tonight or tomorrow and in the days ahead we will make a decision on what we are going to do next,” he added.

The IFA president called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to “get on the phone, because if he doesn’t he will know we’re around, and we’ll be here and we’ll be in town until we get proper negotiations”.