Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Common Agricultural Policy
349. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the provisions being made at EU level in relation to the funding of CAP from 2020 pending the completion of a new CAP programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53720/19]
At the Agri-Fish Council on 18 November 2019, the Commission presented two proposals for CAP transitional rules to bridge the period between the current CAP programming period (2014-2020) and the CAP post-2020 (2021-2027). Such transitional measures are normal practice between consecutive programming periods, where a gap arises due to any delays in finalising the CAP regulations or a new EU Budget.
The first and most urgent regulation is the financial flexibility regulation, which allows the continued transfer of funds between pillars I and II in the year 2020. This is expected to be adopted shortly.
The second, more substantial, regulation is quite technical and legally complex as it amends seven existing EU Regulations (including the CAP Regulations) to provide for a one-year transitional period in 2021, with EU funding for 2021 as set out in the Commission Proposals for the MFF 2021-2027.
Specifically, it provides options for Member States to extend their entire 2014-2020 Rural Development Programmes for a period of one year to 31 December 2021, to extend for the same period only existing multi-annual commitments in the RDP (agri-environment/climate, organic farming and animal welfare), and to introduce new agri-environment/climate, organic farming and animal welfare commitments in 2021 for a period of one to 3 years. The proposal also makes amendments to the Direct Payments regulation to provide legal certainty in the transitional period. Discussions on this second regulation will continue in 2020.
I welcome the Commission's proposed transitional regulations, and the flexibility provided within them to allow continuity between the programming periods, as well as the certainty that would be provided for Member States and beneficiaries. I am continuing to work with the Commission and my European Ministerial colleagues to reach agreement on these important legislative proposals and provide certainty to Irish farmers at the earliest possible date.
350. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the present funding levels for CAP will be maintained pending the completion of the new CAP programme post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53721/19]
The issue of continued funding for the CAP post-2020 in the period before the new strategic plans come into effect will be informed by the outcome of the parallel negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, as well as the arrangements that will be agreed for the transitional period that will arise between the current and future CAP framework.
As regards the MFF, the European Commission has proposed that funding for the CAP should be set at €365 billion, which equates to a cut of approximately 5%. I have previously stated that this is unacceptable for Ireland and I continue to work with my European counterparts to build consensus around the need to maintain a strong CAP budget post-2020. As recently as this week, I again took the opportunity at the Agri-Fish Council to emphasise the fundamental importance of protecting the CAP budget.
It is clear that there are divergent views among Member States on the appropriate level for the budget. Some (including Ireland) have indicated their willingness to increase their national contributions to the EU budget, once they contribute towards areas of added European value, while others feel equally strongly that the current proposals, such as they are, are too costly.
As regards transitional arrangements, the Commission recently presented proposals for transitional rules to bridge the gap between the current CAP and the CAP post-2020. 2021 will be the transitional year, and the proposals are made assuming funding for 2021 at the level proposed under the MFF. This is normal practice when there are delays in finalising the EU budget and CAP proposals. Discussions on the proposals are continuing, and are not expected to conclude until mid-2020.