The largely mixed reaction to the agreement on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that was confirmed last week and backed by the EU council of agriculture minsters yesterday (Monday, June 28) is continuing.

There has been a pretty varied reaction so far, with some welcoming the deal has a step in the right direction, while others have raised concerns for some agriculture sectors.

Speaking yesterday after the agriculture ministers agreed to accept the deal, Irish MEP Colm Markey said the approval of the deal “is welcome news and paves the way for the official ratification”.

Markey, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, remarked that the agreement by ministers “brings us a step closer to formal ratification after almost three years of talks”.

“I believe the agreement will both deliver for Irish farmers and meet our environmental obligations,” the Midlands North-West MEP argued.

According to Markey, the “right balance was struck on some key issues”.

“When it comes to convergence, 85% is a reasonable compromise, as it’s an obvious shift upwards but also protects commercial farmers,” he said, referring to the fact that the deal agreed on an internal convergence rate of 85%, meaning that all direct payments in a member state that are below the national average will be brought to within 85% of that average.

Member states have the flexibility to increase this rate of convergence if they wish.

On the issue of eco-schemes, Markey argued that the 25% figure for the ringfencing of the direct payments budget is “not surprising”, noting that the initial two year leaning phase in 2023 and 2024 is “crucial”.

He noted that the detail on eco-schemes will be dealt with in each member state’s national CAP Strategic Plans, which are currently due to be finalised by the end of this year and submitted to the European Commission for approval.

“Overall, this CAP will give farmers some certainty but we also need to start looking beyond the CAP framework to deliver the full extent of our environmental ambition,” Markey concluded.