Leo Varadkar tells European leaders that Ireland will 'settle for nothing less' than properly funded CAP

The Taoiseach told European leaders that Ireland will "settle for nothing less" than a properly funded Common Agricultural Policy.
Leo Varadkar tells European leaders that Ireland will 'settle for nothing less' than properly funded CAP
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, speaking last week on the Update to the Government's Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. Picture: Julien Behal.

The Taoiseach told European leaders that Ireland will "settle for nothing less" than a properly funded Common Agricultural Policy.

Leo Varadkar participated in a video conference of heads of state on proposals for an "EU-wide recovery instrument", known as "Next generation EU" to help member states borrow money to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The European Commission has published a package for economic regeneration totaling €1.85 trillion; funded through one-off borrowing from the financial markets as an exceptional measure to the unprecedented circumstance the continent has faced.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil on Wednesday, that he had made it clear to European heads of state that Ireland will not accept anything that does not protect Ireland's agricultural sector post-Covid.

"We welcome the broad thrust of proposals, and the government support for an EU response to demonstrate solidarity with most affected by the pandemic," Mr Varadkar said.

"I emphasised the scale and the impact the crisis has had on Ireland, our economy, unemployment levels, and the need for this to be properly reflected in the assessment of need, and allocation of any new funds."

The Taoiseach reiterated that Ireland is open to contributing more to the new budget if it protects Ireland's "vital interests" the Common Agricultural Policy.

"As the country seeks to recover from an unprecedented, and sudden shock to the system, everyone in the house will agree CAP is an important long-standing and well-functioning policy and a vital support to our rural communities economies and farm families.

"Despite the increased allocation for Rural Development under the recovery proposal, and the increased allocation in the CAP in the revised the Multiannual Financial Framework of the European Union (MFF), I said that was what was now on the table was not acceptable to Ireland, and does not yet meet the test of ensuring adequate funding into the future.

"Our farmers are experiencing considerable difficulties with exports and prices collapsing as a result of COVID's global disruption to trade routes, Brexit and increased competition from third countries.

"A strong and properly funded CAP is needed to achieve this, and we can settle for nothing less."

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