1 July 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that Irish farmers can breathe a sigh of relief following the announcement of a two-year CAP extension by the European Union.
Kelleher was commenting after a provisional agreement was reached between the co-legislators – the Parliament and the Council today.
“Put simply, the two-year extension gives farmers predictability, stability, and financial continuity. They can now start planning for the next two years while the new CAP and the MFF are negotiated.
“Payments to farmers will continue uninterrupted and rural development beneficiaries will still receive their supports under the existing CAP rules,” said the Renew Europe MEP.
“Importantly, this agreement gives EU member states additional tools to support their farmers deal with effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
“A relaxation of State Aid rules is also on the way to, for example, allow national authorities, such as the Irish Revenue Commissioners to calculate farmers’ due tax on the basis of their multi-annual income and even temporarily exclude from taxation money saved by farmers for bad years. This could be the difference between some farmers going under or staying afloat.
“It is now up to the new Irish government to make these applications for State Aid approval. We should not be shy about this, as other member states will undoubtedly make these applications.
“Obviously, this is only an interim measure and much work is still required to secure the best possible CAP for Irish farmers for after the transition period. However, this is significant progress. I will keep fighting for farmers and their needs at an EU level.
“What is key now is that a robust and fair budget is secured for agriculture in the upcoming EU budget negotiations – farmers cannot be expected to do more with less once the new CAP comes into force in 2023,” concluded Kelleher.