Yesterday evening in Brussels the European Commission published the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014 to 2020. Important budgetary negotiations will now commence at an EU level following the publication of the recommendations by the European Commission. These negotiations between the European Commission, Council and the European Parliament are critical for Irish farmers, their families, rural communities and the food sector.
 
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP for the Ireland North and West stated today that “in reality the figures released by the European Commission represent a reduction in the CAP budget. The European Commission has allocated some EUR 371.7 billion to the CAP for the period 2014 to 2020. This amount will be supplemented by up to EUR 15.2 billion, which will include access to the European Globalisation Fund and an income crisis fund for farmers. This total amount of EUR 386.9 billion means that the CAP budget is frozen at 2013 levels.”
 
“Moreover, the European Commission’s proposal places environmental conditions on up to 30% of the direct payments budget. This is known as the greening of the CAP. While the details will not be available for some time, I am satisfied that Irish farmers will largely meet any imposed conditions.”
 
“The importance of the Common Agricultural Policy in supporting farm incomes and job creation in rural Ireland is immense. That is why, it is vital for the Irish Government to protect the some EUR 1.8 billion, which Ireland receives annually under the CAP. The government must ensure that inflation is taken into account when the 27 Member States begin their negotiations.”
 
“This level of funding is justified as agriculture is the only policy mainly funded from the EU budget. This is to ensure the security of our food supply and to maintain employment in rural areas. In addition, farmers play a key role in the protection of the rural environment by participating in EU funded programmes. Moreover, the CAP budget has not increased since the accession of the 12 Member States in 2004 and 2007. The majority of which have large agricultural sectors.”
 
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP also stated “I will do my utmost in the European Parliament to protect and to maintain the level of EU support allocated to Irish farmers and in particular to the small farmers based in the North and West of Ireland.”