Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has cautiously welcomed the breakthrough achieved in Brussels today (June 26th) on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Speaking during the presentation of the deal in the European Parliament the Ireland East MEP stated:
“The deal brokered under the Irish Presidency today still has to be voted on by the European Parliament but given the starting point in the negotiations over two years ago, progress has finally been made.
Given the significant amount of flexibility secured for Member States the devil is now in the detail in terms of putting in place a fair and sustainable policy for Irish farmers, particularly with regard to how this should be interpreted and implemented at the national level.
It is now time to undertake a detailed and frank debate at the Member State level on the provisions of this agreement for Irish farmers.”
The MEP expressed his disappointment and concern that key agricultural issues were kept off the negotiation table as they were linked by Council to the EU budget negotiations (MFF).
“The deals made by heads of state behind closed doors in spring on agriculture issues directly linked with the budget, such as flexibility of transfers between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2, the crisis reserve and capping, should have been up for negotiation with MEPs. I have deep concerns that this is a deliberate attempt by the Council to disregard the co-decision powers of the Parliament with respect to key aspects of the Common Agriculture Policy.”
He also highlighted his concern that implementing and overseeing the changes would be an “administrative and bureaucratic nightmare”. He stated that “cutting red tape was one of the initial aims of the reform but when it comes to the practical implementation of the agreed measures it is backwards on simplification it has gone, not forwards.”
Speaking in relation to some of the positive aspects of the deal the Ireland East MEP welcomed the inclusion of his recommendations on farm safety in the priorities for the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD), the decision to postpone changes to the system Less Favoured Areas and the strong supports put in place for young farmers.
The European Parliament will formally vote on the policy deal once agreement is reached on the seven year EU budget. Under the proposed budget the CAP represents up to €1.5 billion a year for seven years for Irish agriculture.