Reference year under discussion

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has revealed that the reference year is still under discussion in CAP talks.

Under this proposal existing single payment entitlements will be abolished on Dec 31, 2013, and new entitlements will be allocated to eligible farmers in 2014.

“We proposed that countries be allowed to set their own reference year rather than 2014 being imposed as the reference year.”

This and other proposals were discussed during Mr Coveney’s talks with Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner of Germany — which wants a flat-rate single farm payment for all member states.

Ireland wants a less radical redistribution of the single farm payment, which would result in Irish farmers losing 8.8% or gaining 29%, on average. In this model, the greening payment would be 30% of each farmer’s payments — rather than the €80 for every hectare in a flat-rate system.

Mr Coveney said, “There is not a single country in Europe that has imposed flat-rate, area-based payments without regionalisation. I do not want to have to do that unless I am forced to. It would be difficult to explain to farmers why we are putting them into different regions and applying different flat-rate payments per hectare.

“Certain powerful countries want to force every member state into an area based regionalisation payment model, simply because they already operate such a model. That is going to be a significant political challenge but we have some powerful allies which were not around several months ago.

“We would like to see payments capped for high earners. We do not want people to earn €300,000 or €400,000 in single farm payments. Germany does not want any capping. A bit of give and take is required and we hope we will get understanding from big, powerful countries such as Germany,” said Mr Coveney, who was also in Rome and Budapest for CAP talks.


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