A proposal which will facilitate phased repayment by farmers and processors of the 2015 milk superlevy fine will be implemented by the European Commission.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney has welcomed the European Commission’s decision to implement the proposal.

The Commission’s decision to proceed was taken after a meeting with Member States in Brussels where Ireland voted in favour of the proposal, the Minister said.

“I welcome agreement of this proposal and would like to thank Commissioner Hogan for coming forward with this initiative.

“It’s regrettable over the last few years that we have not been able to agree measures at EU level to deliver the soft landing for our dairy sector we would have liked but this measure will certainly help to ease the cash flow burden of paying the full superlevy fine this year for Irish farmers and co-ops”.

The proposal allows Member States certain flexibility in terms of how they implement payment of the superlevy by instalments and the Department is at present examining the practicalities of implementing such a measure. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will be required to pay the superlevy fine in full to the European Commission by the standard deadline of 31 November 2015 with the terms of the scheme requiring farmers here to repay minimum one-third payment this year and next with the remainder in 2017.

“My officials are now examining the practicalities of implementing the scheme as well as how the repayment mechanisms can be formalised.

“Today’s announcement provides an important option to Member States and can help to reduce the burden on dairy farmers entering the post-quota era in full readiness for the opportunity which awaits. We are now in the final few days of the quota regime before they are gone forever and the Irish dairy sector can start to realise its full potential.”