Ireland’s support package from the EU Commissions latest proposals will be 20% higher than in 2009 at €13.73m, according to the Minster for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

However, despite it being higher than the €11m received in 2009, the figure remains significantly lower than the €20m mooted by many when the Commission outlined its €500m aid package last week.

Minister Coveney is attending an informal meeting of European Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg today (Tuesday), where details of how the €500m direct aid support package will be distributed.

The criteria used for distribution of the €500m fund was Member States milk quota volumes; the Russian ban; pigmeat prices and drought.

Some €420m will be distributed through national envelopes/schemes while the remaining will be distributed through market stabilisation measures such as aids to private storage.

There will be 100,000t of cheese and skim milk powder withdrawn from the EU marketplace, while the storage period had been extended to one year.

The Minister has also signalled proactive changes to Aids to Private Storage Scheme for dairy and pigs with storage aid for SMP to be increased by 100%. The Minister has also confirmed that the 70% advance of the BAsic Payment will go ahead next month. At the meeting, Commissioner Hogan and national Ministers discussed the evolution of the markets and held continued discussions on the farm support package announced last week. EU Member States will be allowed maximum flexibility to target aid for appropriate measures to address the negative market impact on farmers, according to Commissioner Hogan.  

Minister Coveney warmly welcomed the announcement by the EU Commission last week that it is providing a €500m aid package for European farmers but called for immediate clarification on how these funds will be distributed between Member States and further details of the measures envisaged.

Speaking after the lengthy Council meeting last week, the Minister said it was certainly welcome news that the EU Commission is prepared to make half a billion in funding available from the EU budget to support hard-pressed farmers.