Minister McConalogue under pressure as CAP discussions get underway in Luxembourg

‘This CAP is a bad deal for Irish farmers’ - IFA
Minister McConalogue under pressure as CAP discussions get underway in Luxembourg

President of the EU Agriculture Council, Maria do Céu Antunes with IFA President, Tim Cullinan in Luxembourg. Picture: IFA.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue is attending an EU Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg to consider the CAP 2023-2027 agreement announced in Brussels on Friday.

He highlighted how the agreement reached was “provisional” pending approval by the EU’s agriculture ministers at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, which takes place over the next two days.

“In preparation for that meeting, the Minister and his officials will study the details of the proposals when this is made available by the Presidency,” a department spokesman added.

“The agreement will also have to be formally ratified by the European Parliament.” 

The Irish Farmers’ Association President, Tim Cullinan is also in Luxembourg today.

Flexibility 

He said that Minister McConalogue needs to push for more flexibility during discussions.

“The combined effects of the provisional deal will devastate a cohort of farmers in Ireland,” added Mr Cullinan.

“This will have a knock-on effect on the wider sector that will be very damaging for the rural economy.

“This provisional agreement is a bad deal for Irish farmers and a bad deal for the rural economy.

“Minister Charlie McConalogue has to secure more flexibility to mitigate the negative impact of some of the measures.” 

Lack of ambition

Meanwhile, Macra has expressed “disappointment” over what it describes as “the lack of ambition” in the new CAP to drive significant generational change in EU farming.

It has also called on Minister McConalogue to commit to “encouraging young farmers into farming”.

“It is disappointing that the EU negotiations did not deliver the sought after 4% of Pillar 1 payments, however, the Irish Department of Agriculture can exceed the now agreed 3% minimum of payments for young farmers,” said President John Keane.

“Macra na Feirme has consistently called for greater funds and ambition to make positive changes and encourage greater levels of generational renewal.

“The agreement now provides the opportunity for Dublin to deliver on the level of ambition that we need for Irish young farmers, that Brussels has failed to deliver.

“Macra na Feirme is calling on Minister Charlie McConalogue to give a commitment that the Department of Agriculture will double its efforts to encourage young farmers into farming with additional young farmer supports through the Irish CAP Strategic Plan.” 

BirdWatch Ireland said the CAP deal has “failed the environment again”.

Environment 

Oonagh Duggan, Head of Advocacy, pointed out that Ireland was “running out of time” to address the loss of habitat for birds and pollinators, poor water quality, and rising greenhouse gas emissions.

“We know farmers want to do much more for nature and they must be supported to do so,” she added.

“Details of the CAP deal show a significant weakening of the proposals put by the European Commission to agriculture ministers to make farming greener.

“Examples include the weakening of environmental conditions of the basic payment including ‘space for nature’ on farmland and protection for peatlands.

“A key opportunity has been missed to address the biodiversity and climate emergencies associated with agriculture, and the EU Green Deal is now lacking all credibility.”

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