30 per cent CAP greening is too much for Ireland, says Higgins

MEP Jim Higgins

MEP Jim Higgins

Proposals to increase the Green element of the Common Agriculture Policy are complicated, confusing, and not suitable for Ireland. local MEP Jim Higgins said this week.

The North West MEP said however that the big change in the process is that the European Parliament will have co-decision powers with EU Ministers. Previously, The Commission and The Council were free to ignore the MEPs.

"It is simply not fair to link 30 per cent of farmers' payments to the greening of the CAP.  It would be a different story if the CAP budget was to be subsidised by the Climate Change or Environmental budgets but this is not the case."

 "Many of the greening proposals are complicated, confused and anti competitive and I'll be working to ensure that we have a CAP that benefits farmers not bureaucrats.  We cannot allow the competitiveness of Irish farmers to be curtailed by green tape."

 "We had a meeting of the AGRI Committee and the EU AGRI Ministers; there was common consensus that the linking of the greening to direct payments is a hugely bureaucratic monster which will attempt to micromanage farms.

 He said that the greening criteria will complicate our existing Single Payment Scheme.  30 per cent of the direct payment will be dependant on farmers satisfying certain criteria, if they fail to do so they will incur penalties and sanctions.  What's more there are rumours that the cost of the extra bureaucracy & greening inspections will amount to 5 per cent of the total CAP.

 "Ireland actively promotes sustainable and carbon-efficient agricultural production and this concept is at the heart of our Food Harvest 2020 Strategy.  We need to look at less bureaucratic and simpler means of further greening the CAP, building on what we have already achieved through cross compliance and Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC ) requirements.

 "A huge amount of flexibility needs to be introduced and the new CAP needs to acknowledge the incredibly green work already done by Irish farmers, particularly under the REPS scheme."

 "We all agree that CAP needs to be simpler and less bureaucratic in order to retain our competitive stance on the world markets and I will work to ensure that we have a CAP that provides farmers with the support they need in order to secure the future of Irish farming," he concluded.

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