Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD has said that he believes the convergence process under CAP’s direct payments should continue during the likely two-year transition period in advance of the next CAP programme commencing.

This follows delays at European level to have the new CAP regulations for the period 2021-27 and budget agreed before 2021.

Speaking Deputy McConalogue said, “There is no reasonable basis why Minister Creed has decided to stop the convergence process during the transition period in advance of the next seven-year CAP programme being agreed.

“The draft proposals published by the EU Commission in June 2018 requires all Member States at a minimum to ensure all farmers reach 75% of the national average entitlement value by 2026.

“Secondly, draft transitional CAP regulations recently published by the Commission also include a provision, which permits Member States to continue their convergence programme during the transition period. However, the Government have decided against this and I think that’s wrong.

“I do not agree with Minister Creed in halting the convergence process given that it is now accepted at EU level, that a minimum convergence of 75% is required by 2026. Progress towards this minimum threshold should continue during the transition years and it is entirely logical that this should happen.

“Progress towards the reduction of maximum payments per entitlement should also continue during the transition period which require maximum entitlement values to be reduced, at a minimum, from €700 to €500 per hectare by 2026.

“Looking to the future, a decision will be required alongside agreement of the final budget for the next CAP programme on the final level of convergence to be achieved, but it is not acceptable for the Government to now bring a halt to the process towards the accepted minimum during the transition period.

“Fianna Fáil are fully committed if in Government to ensuring that the process will continue during the transition period,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.