June 1st, 2018
The European Commission has outlined plans for higher ambition on environmental and climate action under the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Announcing the proposals this morning, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said that 40 per cent of the €365 billion budget is expected to go toward climate action.
Member States will also be required to dedicate at least 30 per cent of their rural development budget to environmental and climate schemes.
Just over €265 billion of the CAP budget will be set aside for direct payments, €78.8 billion is for rural development, and €20 billion for market support measures.
A new system of eco-schemes funded from national direct payment allocations will also be mandatory for Member States, although farmers will not be obliged to join them.
These schemes will have to address the CAP’s environment and climate objectives and it will be up to each Member State to design them as they see fit.
Three out of the nine specific objectives in the future CAP concern the environment, with emphasis placed on tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity and habitats.
The Commission is also proposing to reduce direct farmer payments to €60,000 and a cap of €100,000 per farm. According to the Commission, this will ensure a “fairer distribution of payments”.
Member States will also have to apply “more stringent definitions” for payment to ensure that only “genuine farmers” receive support, the Commission outlined in a statement this morning.
The 2017 list of CAP beneficiaries released this week shows that beef baron Larry Goodman and his family, the Emirate Maktoum family and Bord Bia were among the leading recipients of payments.
Preliminary data from Teagasc’s 2017 National Farm Survey shows that average farm income was just over €31,300. Over two thirds of farms saw little change in income compared to 2016.
The CAP proposals also outline supports for young farmers by ensuring that Member States reserve at least 2 per cent of their direct payments to support young farmers in setting up in the profession.
This funding can be in the form of a top-up payment in addition to basic income support or through installation grants capped at €100,000.
The Commission’s proposals will now be sent to the European Parliament and the Council who will both outline their positions in relation to CAP. The Commission said that it wants a “swift agreement” following delays in finalising the 2014-2020 budget.
“Any delays in approval of the future budget would also delay the start of thousands of potential new projects across the EU designed to support farmers and rural communities, tackling issues from strengthening environmental protection to attracting new farmers.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today published submissions made by stakeholders in response to his Department’s consultation on CAP earlier this year.
Numerous environmental groups, including Birdwatch Ireland, the Environmental Pillar and the Irish Wildlife Trust entered submissions.