Fianna Fail: ‘€60,000 BPS ceiling should be adopted in CAP’

Fianna Fail is calling for a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) ceiling of €60,000 to be adopted in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in order to “safeguard Irish Family Farms”.

Charlie McConalogue, the party’s spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine, claimed that a reduction in the ceiling – from its current level of €150,000 – to €60,000 would “ensure that CAP funds safeguard small and medium sized farms”.

McConalogue, a TD for Donegal, also argued that the CAP 2020 reforms should allow member states to decide on the capping of payments at a national level.

Last year, the European Commission proposed BPS payment capping in the €60,000 to €100,000 range for the CAP post 2020.

“The next CAP reform should permit member states to decide on the capping of direct payments at national level. Secondly, it is Fianna Fail policy that the next CAP should reduce the current BPS payment ceiling to €60,000 in Ireland. The current ceiling is €150,000,” McConalogue suggested.

He added: “A new ceiling at this level would provide a €74 million pot annually – €517 million over a seven-year CAP programme – to target supports to vulnerable sectors and strengthen measures for generational renewal.”

McConalogue claimed that these policies were “socially progressive”, which would protect those on low incomes.

The new CAP will not be voted on until after the European elections in May, after it was confirmed that the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development would vote on the issue first.

Motions that are tabled at the committee level must wait one month before they are brought to the plenary session, where they are voted on by the full parliament.

This means that CAP won’t be voted on during the lifetime of this current parliament, which will hold its final plenary session during April.

The European elections are due to be held from Thursday, May 23, to Saturday, May 26.