EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan might not be around to see out the next Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), an MEP has advised this week.

Speaking on Thursday night (March 14) on the latest episode of FarmLand, Sean Kelly – MEP for Ireland-South – outlined that the much-anticipated reform of the CAP post-2020 is now expected to be pushed back due to increasing deadline pressures in Brussels ahead of the upcoming European Elections 2019.

He also pointed to the fact that there could very well be a new commissioner in place following those elections – even though the latest CAP proposals were drawn up by Commissioner Hogan himself.

Kelly said it has been his belief for a while that Commissioner Hogan “will not be in a position to see out the next CAP”.

I have been saying for some time now that Commissioner Hogan cannot decide the next CAP in its entirety.

He continued: “A new commissioner could want to come in and put his own imprint on it.”

Kelly went on to say that while the basic principles in respect of the proposals were agreed and member states were allowed to decide on the major implications and the major schemes within their own country “abiding by the objectives overall would not change”.

“The commitment to generational renewal will not change; the commitment to further simplification will not change, so the basic principles are there.

“The big battle of course is in the detail and the funding, and that is going to be the most important battle of all,” added Kelly.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Hogan told RTE this afternoon (March 15) that his office would “stand strongly behind EU farmers” as Brexit fast approaches.

I am guaranteeing that there will be no change in direct payments for farmers for 2019, even though our budget could be down substantially arising from Brexit.

The commissioner continued: “We are also working with the European Investment Bank to provide capital for agri-businesses.

“We have private storage aid in place and promotional measures to try and find alternative markets.”

He went on to say that the proposed tariffs announced by the UK on Wednesday (March 13) served as nothing more than a “political distraction“.

“It was a political distraction to try and break the unity of the EU; it has failed and will continue to fail,” Hogan concluded.