Fairer CAP payments will increase public support for agriculture

An Irish MEP has said improving the fairness of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payment system will increase public support for the European Union’s agricultural budget.

Luke Ming Flanagan was speaking at a special hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) marking 60 years of the CAP today (Tuesday 8 November).

The MEP for Midlands North-West said that although not without its problems, CAP funding has played an important role in Ireland.

“Where I come from, this is extremely important money for rural areas. That’s €1.6 billion a year for Ireland and it doesn’t just end up in the pockets of farmers.

“I am not the son of a farmer. I never worked or lived on a farm, but my father was a carpenter. The carpenters, mechanics and hairdressers in my town are there thanks to money from the common agricultural policy. That’s a damn good thing.

“It meant that my family no longer had to emigrate to London. That’s what it meant.

However, Flanagan noted that the CAP budget is shrinking as demands on farmers increase.

The share of the EU budget devoted to agricultural expenditure has been steadily decreasing in recent years.

The CAP accounted for 66% of the EU budget in the early 1980s, which fell to 37.8% over the period 2014-2020, while it fell to 31% over the period 2021-2027.

“One of the reasons why I would say that the overall percentage of the European budget for agriculture has decreased is that the general public sees an unfair payment system and has seen it for a long time.

“The more we give back to this fair, the more support it will receive,” Flanagan said.

“We have to see the end of big business receiving massive amounts of taxpayers’ money while small farmers only receive a pittance,” he said.

On future CAP reforms, the Irish MEP said that minimums on Redistributive Complementary Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS) must increase, convergence must be completed and there should be higher minimums on eco -diets.

Meanwhile, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski told MEPs that a stronger CAP will be needed beyond 2027.

“We know what will happen until 2027 but there is also an after 2027. We need a stronger CAP beyond 2027, because 0.4% of GDP devoted to food security, c is too little.

“It will not ensure food security for us in the face of the challenges that we are currently facing, that farmers are currently facing,” he said.

About Keneth T. Graves

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