On 12 October, the European Commission announced their proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy in Brussels. Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stated today in response to the announcement that “the set of proposals launched this week by the European Commission will have enormous implications for farmers, their families, the food sector and rural communities in the North West.”
 
“The European Commission has recommended a major overhaul of the Single Farm Payment. These are only proposals at this stage and are subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the 27 Government’s. However, I share the concerns expressed by many in relation to the new reference period established for direct payments which is set for the year 2014 but linked to 2011.”
 
“Under the proposal the disadvantaged area payment is optional upon each Member State. I expect the Government to fully commit to the new disadvantaged area payment as this is an important income support for many farm families in the North West.”
 
“The European Commission also recommend the introduction of new provisions known as the ‘greening of the CAP’. This basically places environmental conditions on up to 30% of the direct payment budget. While, I am satisfied that Irish farmers will largely meet any imposed conditions. It is essential that additional red tape and farm inspections are avoided at all costs.”
 
“I welcome the proposal to increase payments to young farmers during their first five years in farming. This is an important and positive development.”
 
“I also welcome the new rural development measures included in the proposals. While, the details will not be available for some time, the Commission are proposing the introduction of a “starter kit” to support business projects with funding up to EUR 70,000 over a 5 year period. The LEADER programme will be continued and strengthened, which is welcome.”