A €500m aid package for the EU agriculture sector, with particular emphasis on the crisis-hit dairy industry, was announced by Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan yesterday.
The package includes a €350m conditional adjustment aid measure to be implemented by member states — from which Ireland will receive €11.1m — and a €150m EU-wide measure to support voluntary reduction in milk production.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed welcomed the Commission’s two-pronged approach to dealing with the issue.
He said Ireland’s views in relation to supply management are well known.
It did not want the package to be focused exclusively on production discipline, although there were strong demands for that from some member states.
The fact that 70% of the package has been directed to adjustment aid was very welcome, he said.
In relation to the use of these funds, he said he had argued strongly that the maximum possible flexibility needs to be given to members states.
“While we still await full details, which we will examine closely, the flexibility indicated by the Commissioner to provide liquidity support to farmers is welcome,” Mr Creed said.
He added he was pleased the Commission had responded to demands from Ireland and others by extending public intervention for skimmed milk powder and private storage aid schemes to February 2017.
The package also includes provision for advance payment of key farm support payments — up to 70% of direct payments and 85% for area-based rural development programme payments from October 16.
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