‘Protecting the CAP budget is a national priority’ – Creed

Protecting the CAP budget in this week’s discussions on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027 has been described as “a national priority” by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Speaking ahead of today’s Special European Council in Brussels, Minister Creed said: “Ireland’s position on the CAP is crystal clear.

“Protecting it is a national priority and the taoiseach has made it clear that over the next few days, he will be fighting to protect the interests of Irish farmers.”

Negotiations will begin in Brussels today, Thursday, February 20, under the European Council’s President, Charles Michel.

The commission’s proposals include a cut to CAP funding allocations. However, a number of member states feel that those proposals do not go far enough, and are seeking further reductions in member state contributions to the budget, from the 1.14% of Gross National Income proposed by the EU Commission, to just 1%.

The discussions are taking place against the backdrop of additional budgetary pressures, including the UK’s decision to leave the EU, increasing demands from some member states in areas such as migration and security, and the need to meet increasing climate change obligations.

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “The agriculture and food sectors have been a critical building block of the European Union itself.

They provide food security, protect the social and economic fabric of rural areas, mitigate the risk of land abandonment and provide a range of environmental and other public goods.

“The CAP is the platform on which these public goods are built. In the discussions commencing today, Ireland will remain focused on protecting the CAP budget.

“Indeed, it is all the more imperative, at a time when we are asking farmers to do more to meet environmental objectives, that we provide them with an adequate budget to do so.”