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The European Commission published a draft proposal for the EU’s seven-year multiannual budget (2021-2027) on 2nd May, proposing an overall increased budget of approximately €1.28 Trillion (up from €1.1tn) but a cut of 5% to CAP spending.

This proposed cut of 5% to CAP funding represents a yearly reduction of nearly €3bn of the total CAP budget and includes a 3.9% reduction in direct payments in Ireland (in current prices) and a 10% reduction in co-financing rates under the second pillar.

ICOS believe that cutting funding to agriculture is unacceptable when Irish and EU farmers already stand to be worst hit by Brexit, including the potential loss of UK markets, and are under more pressure than ever more as a result of overall volatility and increased regulatory demands. In order to help the agri-food sector to overcome the challenges posed by Brexit, as well as to enable it to meet new targets around climate emission reductions and environmental protection, it is necessary to increase, not cut, the level of funding available to agriculture.

CAP funding supports not only 130,000 Irish farmers and their families, but also a further 100,000 people who are employed across the entire agri-food chain. Cutting this funding directly threatens these jobs, the vast majority of which are located in rural areas.

ICOS is strongly calling on the Irish Government, the Minister for Agriculture and our MEPs in the European Parliament to support the agri-food sector and to secure increased funding for the CAP in the upcoming Budget negotiations.

By Alison Graham

European Affairs Executive