Last week’s CAP agreement reached between the European Parliament, Council and Commission will remove uncertainty for farmers, according to Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP, one of the key negotiators in the reform talks.
And she said a debate can now begin in Ireland based on the agreement to use the flexibilities in the package to best fit the situation on Irish farms. “The agreement is hugely significant and marks a major shift in policy with the linking of direct payment supports to environmental measures beneficial to the climate and biodiversity.
“This refocusing of policy needs to be carefully monitored and is subject to a mid-term review to ensure that at farm level the measures are workable and deliver for the environment,” she said.
She was particularly pleased that support for young farmers has been strengthened during the talks. Member states must provide a 25pc top up to young farmers and this top up can apply to the average entitlement value and not just to the basic payment.
“This will enable member states to make full use of the 2pc allocated for young farmers and will help to address the persistent problem of too few young people in farming,” she said.
“Countries like Ireland with historic based payments will be required to implement a minimum per hectare payment of 60pc of the national average in 2019, with losses for individual farmers limited to 30pc.