Speaking in Brussels following the announcement by the President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso on the budget for the forthcoming Multi-annual Financial Framework yesterday evening, Liam Aylward, MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development reacted cautiously:

“Maintaining the 2013 levels for the CAP budget is broadly in line with what the sector has been asking for over the past number of months. However freezing at this level will pose challenges over the course of the 7 years for a sector tasked with significant demands”.

The share of CAP expenditure in the EU budget has steadily decreased from 75% in 1985 to 36.2% under the 2013 – 2017 Multi Annual Framework. The Commission is proposing to allocate €281.8 billion for the CAP Pillar 1 and €89.9 billion for rural development. 

“Investment in the CAP represents value for money for the European taxpayers who receive measurable returns on the investment in terms of food security, affordable food produced to the highest health and safety and environmental standards for consumers and the sustainable management of natural resources and climate action. I welcome the continued commitment to Rural Development as this budget had been under threat.  Rural development will be linked to the 2020 agenda to achieve a more target approach and will continue to support farmers in the sustainable use of the land”. 

€4.5 billion has been ring-fenced for agricultural research within the 8th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and according the Liam Aylward, this is a sector where the Irish food industry can capitalise.

“European agriculture is a sector that will deliver returns on investment. It is a sector with a wealth of potential for expansion and for growth in the economy and trade, employment and entrepreneurship.  It is a sector where research and innovation can flourish and the aims of the EU 2020 strategy be achieved.  The potential for the Irish food sector in Research and Innovation must be fully realised and these EU funds will be a catalyst for growth”.

Speaking on the allocation of 30% of Pillar 1 funding to Greening measures, The Ireland East MEP stated that,

“The implementation process of the 30% of direct support conditionally allocated for “greening” under Pillar 1 will have to be closely monitored to ensure that it does not result in an additional layer of red tape for farmers but given the strong environmental and green ethos that Irish farmers already employ it is possible that it will overlap with the “green” structure of Irish agriculture already in place”.