Following the rejection by the French Minister for Agriculture and Food of the proposed cuts in CAP, the President of ICMSA has said that “not for the first time” farmers throughout the EU will look on the French Government as their defenders and the ultimate supporters of the EU’s indigenous farming sector.
Pat McCormack said that the statement on the proposed cuts attributed to Monsieur Travert represented the kind of solid, principled and farsighted rebuttal of the Commission’s proposal that Irish farmers wished to hear and it was now incumbent upon the Irish Government to fall in behind the French position and signal to the Commission that the proposals represented an unacceptable and devastating blow to what was, in Minister Travert’s phrase, “the oldest and most integrated policy of European construction”.
Mr McCormack said the French position effectively meant that the proposed cuts were ‘all to play for’ as an budgetary option and Ireland must now resume its efforts to convince the Commission and others to maintain the CAP Budget though increased Member contributions “if that is what is required”.
The ICMSA President also dismissed the idea that the cuts were manageable and would amount to five percent: “Respected analysts have estimated that the proposed cuts would translate to a cut in direct payments of up to 15% and their methodology is a great deal more convincing than airy pronouncements of the cuts only being of the order of five percent. France has opened the door and – given the fundamental role direct payments play in our rural economy – it is up to our Government to step through that door in support of France and, ultimately, ourselves.”
Meanwhile IFA have said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has a big political challenge on his hands, and an increased CAP Budget for Irish farmers has to be a red line issue for him in the negotiations.
IFA President Joe Healy said says the proposal from Commissioner Oettinger of a reduction in the CAP budget post-2020 is a big blow for Irish farmers.
The IFA President said there is a huge task for the Irish Government, the Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan and our MEPs to get an increase in the CAP budget. “They must pull out all the stops and reject the cuts agenda by the Commission,” he said.
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said: “I am extremely disappointed at cuts proposed for the CAP in the period from 2021 to 2027.
“Over the next few years farm families will be required to play a vital role in the protection and enhancement of the environment and the production of food to the highest standards in the world. These high standards, and the family farm model, are part of the fabric of European values, but come at a price that EU citizens have shown they are willing to pay. We need farmers to take active steps to mitigate climate change, protect water quality and biodiversity, and improve their competitiveness. A strong CAP is a prerequisite if these objectives, which are in the best interests of all citizens, are to be achieved.
“In all of these circumstances, and in particular because many farm families rely on the CAP for virtually their entire income, a cut in funding is simply not a realistic proposition.”