Big Irish farmers and food processing plants will lose just about a quarter of what they were slated to lose under a deal reached by EU agriculture ministers last night.
The biggest reform of the bloc’s agriculture policy in close to a decade aimed to ensure all farmers, big and small, got a fairer share of the €380bn farm budget over the next seven years.
Irish farmers will get €1.5bn a year but, because of changes to the system, 60,300 will be up to 25% better off, while 53,500 will lose up to a fifth of their payments.
This is considered a major achievement for the Irish authorities as, under the original proposal, the big beneficiaries were due to lose up to a third of the money they have been receiving, while others would have seen their incomes increase by three quarters.
The IFA said this cut would have devastated many farming families that rely on the EU funding for up to 100% of their income.
As a result of a compromise put forward by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and his officials, the commission proposal has been modified to take into account the interests of the member states.
That means instead of €280m being transferred between farmers, €74m will be transferred, with some flexibility to transfer more.
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