Conway-Walsh tells EU Commissioner ‘any reduction in CAP is totally unacceptable’
Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has told EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger that any attempt to reduce CAP payments in order to deal with the financial effects of Britain leaving the EU is totally unacceptable and will be fiercely resisted.
Speaking after questioning the Commissioner at the Finance Committee on Tuesday, the Mayo Senator said:
“CAP is in the firing line. There is a potential shortfall of €5 billion as a result of Brexit. The Commissioner has already told German farmers that cuts are on the way. He also confirmed to me that as he travels the parliaments of Europe he has received requests for the CAP budget to be cut by up to 30%. This is extremely worrying.
“I told the Commissioner that any cuts to CAP would be completely unacceptable. Whilst I acknowledged the solidarity from the EU around the Brexit issue, I stressed the double blow that would be inflicted on Irish farmers through reduction in CAP and losing access to the British market. Farmers are already struggling with volatile incomes.
“I pointed out the wasted money which is being spent on the EU militarisation programme and how this could be targeted for cuts rather than agriculture which sustains farm families and rural communities.
“Sinn Féin is opposed to any proposed reduction of the CAP budget; although we will vigorously campaign for greater equity in payments so that those on the lowest payments receive additional income support. We know that any CAP reduction would especially hit farmers in the regions.
“The current situation whereby 80% of the CAP budget is directed at the 20% of highest earners is unsustainable and actually weakens our arguments in support of farm subsidies.”