Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Common Agricultural Policy Reform
987. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the most recent developments on reform of the CAP and progress on agreeing a new programme at EU level; and the progress made in attaining unanimous agreement by all member states to reverse the proposed budget cuts to the next CAP. [3896/20]
Since their publication by the European Commission in June 2018, intensive discussions have taken place on the CAP reform proposals. A significant number of Working Group meetings have been held under the Austrian, Romanian and Finnish Presidencies, and work is continuing apace under the Croatian Presidency. The proposals have also been discussed extensively at the Special Committee for Agriculture and have been a standing agenda item at every Council of EU Agriculture Ministers meeting.
While significant progress has been made, decisions on many key issues have still to be agreed. These include the proposed new green architecture, which is aimed at achieving a higher level of climate ambition, and the New Delivery Model, which is aimed at measuring Member States' performance in achieving the objectives of the CAP. Before the new proposals can be implemented, it will be necessary to reach overall agreement within the Council, and then with the European Parliament and Commission. The new Parliament has yet to reach a position in plenary on the proposals.
Under the MFF draft proposals, 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 consistently stated that this is unacceptable for Ireland, and I have worked hard with my European counterparts, and with Commissioners Hogan and Wojciechowski, to build consensus around the need to maintain a strong CAP budget post-2020.
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, 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, but I can assure the Deputy that my Department and I will continue to ensure that protecting the CAP budget remains a key priority for Ireland in these negotiations.
Agreement on the next MFF is a matter for Heads of State and Government, and requires unanimity by all Member States at the European Council. The proposed budget must also be agreed by the European Parliament.