‘It’s not logical to look for an increase in the CAP budget’

The deficit that will be left in the European budget as a result of Brexit will mean that an increase in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget isn’t logical, according to EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

The CAP budget has been the topic of much debate in recent months, but the overall EU budget is set to be announced by the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Gunther Oettinger, next Wednesday, May 2.

Speaking to AgriLand, Commissioner Hogan said: “The negotiations are not finished, so we’re battling on to ensure that agriculture’s contribution towards the European Union is well recognised in the announcement that will be made next Wednesday.”

He outlined that, due to Brexit, there will be a €12 billion hole in the overall budget.

“If you don’t have another source of money from your own resources, then of course there are going to be cuts in all of the programmes.

It’s not logical to look for an increase in the budget at a time when we have this particular deficit.

During yesterday’s committee meetings in Leinster House, the commissioner outlined that – alongside the budget deficit – there is set to be a demand for more money for other initiatives going forward.

Addressing the meeting, he said: “There’s only a finite number of places we can get [more money]; but the principle one is based around the Gross National Income (GNI) of the member state.

At the moment, we’re paying the equivalent to 1.13% of GNI on the basis of an EU 27. If Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Austria want to hold the line and say, ‘not another Euro for Europe’ – well then you’re in trouble, because it has to be by unanimity.

“This is going to be a difficult negotiation for the next year. The commission can only make a proposal, but it’s the member states ultimately and the European Parliament that will make the final decisions,” he concluded.