The current 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) programme is likely to be rolled over for an additional one to two years, an MEP has advised this week.

That has subsequently raised questions about direct payments and whether or not they will stay the same if, or when, that roll-over happens.

Speaking 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 out that the system of direct payments would remain in place should CAP 2014-2020 roll over.

The principle of direct payments will remain; the second pillar will remain and public goods will remain.

Kelly continued: “It will probably come into the first pillar as well, but it’s the level of payments that will be decided. There is also going to be a battle under the first pillar over requirements.”

‘Agriculture is good for the environment’

The MEP for Ireland-South then pointed to the new CAP and how, in respect of it, there hasn’t been the same desire as there was under Commissioner Dacian Ciolos to flatten (cap) payments across Europe.

The flattening, he added, would only happen where, for example, Ireland agreed to put a cap on maximum payments.

Kelly went on to say that there would always be battles between committees, and especially in relation to CAP.

“Some people – if they had their way – would have no CAP, but thankfully there is a strong pro-farmer majority,” he added.

He said there were lessons for people to learn “especially in terms of agriculture being good for the environment”.

“I actually think there is a lesson to be learned in terms of people being made aware that actually agriculture is good for the environment,” he continued.

“The farmers are the custodians of the land and they need the land to be functional for themselves.

“They are providing public goods and doing that in a very environmentally friendly way. They are becoming more environmentally friendly with increased technology.”