October 20, 2020
“Radical reform of CAP must not be further delayed” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Radical reform of CAP must not be further delayed” – Chris MacManus MEP

Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has said the CAP proposals must be sent back to the Commission for revision, as the only way to deliver a progressive reform for Irish family farmers. 

MacManus said “The current proposals are insufficient and only serve to delay a fair distribution of CAP until 2027 or later. We need to see a fair distribution of the CAP now to ensure a future for our young farmers.”

“The current CAP will run until 2023, therefore, there is no reason why the Commission cannot quickly address the necessary changes and return to parliament and council for a fast tracked process.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP said a lack of ambition now would hurt farmers in the long run. “Let’s be very clear, this is only the start of a lengthy process. The next step is to take what parliament has agreed and start negotiations with the European Council. The Council have always taken an approach of minimal reform and ambition. This is why starting such negotiations with a weak position is likely to result in the bare minimum changing. Setting a high bar at this stage is crucial.”

“The CAP is the most important legislative proposal the EU parliament will deal with this year. However, the establishment parties have attempted to rush it through parliament and block any substantial amendments at the plenary vote.”

“Irish family farmers are facing an incredibly difficult situation, due to Brexit, COVID and cartel like behaviour in the beef-processing sector. This CAP reform presented an opportunity to support them through this time and ensure the family farm model is protected for years to come. It also was an opportunity to end the situation where 80% of CAP payments go to 20% of recipients.”

“Instead of the radical reform that was needed, the parliament was presented with a tweaking of the status quo and MEPs were told to take it or leave it. Sinn Féin approached the text by measuring whether it did two things; did it provide sufficient funds for small to medium farmers, and did it reward farmers fairly for their work preserving our landscapes. The answer to both questions was a resounding no.

The proposals failed to:

·         set an upper payment limit of €60,000, which would have made extra funds available for redistribution

·         ring fence at least 5% of the funds for our young farmers, who are in dire need of a greater incentive to stay on the land

·         allocate at least 30% of pillar I to the top-up payment, designed to boost payments on all hectares declared below the national average

·         set aside at least 35% of pillar I for ECO schemes, which are designed to make looking after the environment not only cost neutral but profitable for our farmers

MacManus concluded by saying “Large enterprises, who receive hundreds of thousands of euros, will be the only winners from the EU parliament pushing through these bad proposals currently on offer.”

“Sinn Féin understands the importance of the network of family farms, which underpin our rural communities, and we will not allow them to be sold out in the interest of not rocking the boat at EU level.” ENDS

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