Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations
976. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the outcome of the most recent discussions at the EU Agriculture Council of Ministers on funding for CAP post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3753/20]
977. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans he put forward at recent EU Agriculture Council of Ministers meetings on the need to ensure there is no reduction in funding for CAP post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3754/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 976 and 977 together.
The European Commission has proposed, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 - 2027, an approximate cut of 5% to the CAP budget post-2020. The proposed cut is unacceptable for Ireland, and I have used every opportunity in the course of discussions on the CAP post-2020 to call for the budget to be maintained, including through engagement with Member State counterparts at the Council of Agriculture Ministers, and with Commissioners Hogan and Wojciechowski.
At the 2019 October Agri Fish Council, I joined with sixteen of my colleagues in reiterating the call we made in Madrid in mid-2018 for the post-2020 CAP budget to be maintained at current levels. I have also availed of every opportunity at Agri-Fish Council meetings to emphasize the fundamental importance of protecting the CAP budget, including most recently in January 2020, when the Council discussed the even higher level of climate change ambition that must now be reflected in Member States' CAP Strategic Plans in light of the new European Green Deal.
There are differing views among Member States on the appropriate level for the budget, with some Member States, including Ireland, indicating their willingness to increase their national contributions once they contribute towards areas of added European value, while others feel equally strongly that the current proposals would be too costly.
There is still some way to go before agreement can be achieved, and I can assure the Deputy that I will continue to ensure that protecting the CAP budget remains a key priority for Ireland as the negotiations progress.
Final agreement on the MFF proposals is ultimately a matter for Heads of State and Government, and requires unanimity by all Member States at the European Council.