1st February, 2013
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president Gabriel Gilmartin says EU leaders must strive to reach agreement on the 2014-2020 multi-annual financial framework (MFF) next week (7th & 8th February), in order to avoid serious uncertainty on CAP. The MFF must be finalised before any progress can be made on the new CAP deal.
Mr Gilmartin said, “This is a critical week for the future of Irish agriculture, because failure to get agreement on the MFF will mean that getting a deal done on CAP will not be feasible during the Irish presidency. The EU leaders must come to the negotiation table ready to secure a deal. Another breakdown in the MFF talks will lead to unbearable uncertainty on the new CAP.”
However, he cautioned that a speedy deal must not come at the expense of a cut to Ireland’s CAP allocation. “The Common Agricultural Policy currently injects €1.6 billion euro a year into the Irish economy. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny must do his utmost to ensure that the MFF agreement incorporates a fully-funded CAP for the 2014-2020 period. He must be clear that a reduction in the CAP Budget is a red line issue as far as Ireland is concerned.”
An ICSA delegation will travel to Brussels for the duration of the talks. “This is not just about farmers; ultimately, every Irish consumer benefits from a well-supported farming sector. Agriculture in Ireland has huge potential for growth and job creation, and ambitious expansion targets have been set by Food Harvest 2020. All of this potential would be severely compromised if our CAP allocation is not maintained at the same level in the overall EU budget,” Mr Gilmartin concluded.