Indications that Commissioner Phil Hogan will use his EU level powers to spread the superlevy burden over a three-year period has been warmly welcomed by ICOS.

However, it warns that the details and workings of the proposed new scheme will need to be clarified immediately as co-operatives are currently implementing the provisions of the existing superlevy scheme.

According to ICOS the proposed payment years will be 2015, 2016 and 2017, and will be interest free.

This, it says will ultimately help the cash flow situation of milk producers and co-operatives.

ICOS says understands a formal announcement of the working of the proposal will take place in the coming days.

ICOS President Martin Keane underlined that ICOS has spearheaded a strong lobbying campaign in Brussels for the mitigation of the Superlevy bill over the past months and years.

He said this was particularly important given the cashflow pressure likely to be felt on many dairy farms in 2015 arising from a combination of weaker markets, the ongoing Russian ban, and investment in expansion.

The prospect of up to €2 billion in superlevy fines being paid by European dairy farmers into the general EU budget in 2015 was particularly unjust, he said.

“Last year Irish co-ops were the first in Europe to pursue internal schemes to spread the superlevy cost. However, ICOS also continued to push for an official EU approach, which would alleviate the burden on co-ops and their members. This latest announcement is very welcome, as it will give a boost to farmers’ cash flow and allow them to continue to develop their enterprises.

“We would like to thank the Commissioner and his team for the work they have done on the matter, and ICOS remains available to help iron out the workings of any proposed scheme at national and EU level if required,” Keane said.