de Brún 'CAP reform presentation a 'mixed-bag'
Speaking today (Wednesday) after the Commissioner for Agriculture presented his proposals on the future of the CAP to the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee in Brussels, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said, 'Today's presentation by Commissioner Ciolos was a mixed-bag. While I welcome his proposals on simplification, research and development, capping of payments at €300,000, crisis management for 'exceptional circumstances' and the provisions for young farmers, there are some unclear and worrying points contained within his proposal". "Firstly, I am disappointed that the Commission, despite opposition from the parliament and member states, has sought to use its own definition of an 'active farmer'. This is something which varies hugely throughout the EU and using a single definition cannot aptly reflect the Member States individual farming cultures. "Furthermore the greening component lacks innovation, and we will need to work on this, to ensure we get to where we need to go with regards to long term sustainability within the agricultural sector, and the delivery of tangible environment benefits "The new 'basic payment scheme' which aims to address issues around the 'direct payments' runs the risk of being highly complicated and not offering the simplification which everyone desires. The issue of simplification will certainly be one on which we in the European Parliament will be extremely focused”. "However, with regards to Rural Development, there are many new proposals with regards to Pillar II funding, I welcome this and look forward to the debate surrounding the detail. I will work towards ensuring these proposals allow sufficient national and regional flexibility so that Ireland’s rural communities are offered as much as possible. "I also welcome the decision to cap payments at €300,000 thereby ensuring that the CAP is not funding big business, but being spread more evenly between those who really need it. de Brun concluded, "This is the first time the European Parliament has been a co-legislator in CAP reform, and I believe we have been given the opportunity to make our mark, and we are certainly up for that task. The proposals have a lot of potential, and it is now up to us to negotiate the best deal possible for our farming communities, as they make their passage through the European Parliament".