Farm leaders head for Brussels to object drastic CAP cut proposals

Leaders of two Irish farm organisations will travel to Brussels today, Thursday, February 20, to object proposals for drastic cuts in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) president, Tim Cullinan, and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association’s (ICMSA’s) president, Pat McCormack, are among those who will be in Brussels today to dispute the CAP cut proposals.

Leaders of the EU’s 27 member states will gather for an “extraordinary European Council meeting” to discuss – and potentially decide – on the bloc’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the next seven years.

Farmers will be watching events anxiously as the next CAP could be set for a savage cut if proposals from the President of the European Council Charles Michel are enacted, European documents show.

According to the documents, under the current 2014-2020 CAP budget – adjusted for the EU-27 (minus the UK) – €382.5 billion was allocated over the lifetime of the programme. The new proposal would represent a drop (for CAP) of over €53.2 billion or 14%.

The same document indicates that the 2014-2020 CAP budget – adjusted for the EU-28 (including the UK) – was €410.3 billion. Using this as the existing, the new proposal would see a drop of over €81 billion or 19%.

Acting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – who will also be in Brussels later today – has said he will be arguing that the CAP funding “should be maintained at least at its existing level” .

Speaking in advance of this week’s EU Council meeting on the European Budget, the taoiseach repeated his commitment to fight to retain the current level of CAP funding.

“We face a real battle as many other countries want to reduce the budget for CAP and divert it to other areas,” he outlined.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for further updates on this story.