The European Commission has been urged to speed up adoption of national rural development programmes, because they may be delayed until May, 2015, if not ready for adoption by December 31, 2014.
EU farmer and co-op groups warned that procedural reasons relating to revisions of the EU budget (Multiannual Financial Framework) will hold up any approvals which extend into the New Year.
In Ireland’s case, this could delay access by farmers to the GLAS environmental scheme, TAMS grants, the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, LEADER, discussion groups and farm advice, the Organic Farming Scheme, collaborative farming, the willow and miscanthus bio-energy scheme, and local projects such as the Burren Farming for Conservation Scheme.
Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said, “This could have a severe impact on farmers, forest owners and co-operatives’ activities, leaving them unable to plan ahead. We urge the Commission to speed up the adoption of the programmes, without affecting the quality and objectives of the programmes”.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said Ireland’s draft rural development programme was submitted to the European Commission on July 3, 2014. “Due to the Commission’s heavy workload in dealing simultaneously with 118 RDPs, its formal observations on the draft RDP, which were due on October 3, 2014, were not received until October 20, 2014. Since then, my officials have been systematically working through the various informational, technical and policy matters raised by the Commission.”
Speaking in the Dáil on November 12, Mr Coveney said Ireland’s detailed response to the Commission’s formal observation had issued.
“The next step in the approval process will be a period of bilateral discussion with the Commission. It is difficult to predict exactly how long these discussions will last”.
“I am still hopeful the RDP will be approved before the end of the year, but that timeline is now very tight. He said a delay would have implications in terms of launch dates for new schemes.
“We will still be pushing for the adoption of the RDP and the opening of GLAS before the end of the year. That said, there are some things that are outside of my control,” said the Minister. “We think that it is still possible to do it before the end of the year. We want to open up GLAS as well as several other schemes, the targeted agricultural modernisation, TAM, schemes in particular, in January and February of next year.”
Ireland’s €4bn rural development programme from 2014 to 2020 also contains the disadvantaged payments scheme.
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