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The Council of Ministers, EU Parliament and Commission have reached an agreement on the agricultural aspects of the so-called “Omnibus regulation” – which revises the EU’s multiannual budget (2014-2020), and amends some of the rules and controls within the basic CAP legislation.

Key changes include:

  • The provisions of the Milk Package will now be extended indefinitely. In addition Member States who make the use of written contracts in the milk sector mandatory under these provisions, will also be able to impose certain clauses, including a minimum duration, agreements on a delivered quantity and price payable.
  • The role of Producer Organisations was extended to allow them plan production, optimise production costs, plan placing on the market and negotiate delivery contracts on behalf of their members, within all sectors. Value sharing terms (sharing of market gains and losses) can also now be collectively negotiated within contracts.
  • Article 222 of the CMO was expanded to allow farmers and farmers associations as well as POs and Inter-Branch Organisations agree to reduce production during times of severe market imbalance, adding that this measure should no longer be a “last resort” but used to complement EU crisis action.
  • A sector specific income stabilisation tool was developed within the rural development policy, under which aid would be activated when income losses on a sectoral basis reach 20%, with a support rate of 70%. This tool however is not available under the current Irish RDP.

Alison Graham

European Affairs Executive