FIANNA Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has urged the Irish government to resist any attempt to reduce CAP funding as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
‘What’s now clear is that all of the budget predictions for the European Union are out of date,’ said Mr Kelleher. ‘The impact of Covid-19 on the economies and balance sheets of every member state will result in an unwillingness to increase member state contributions to fund the 2021-2027 EU budget.
‘Even before Covid-19 struck, the CAP budget was under attack with member states unwilling to increase their contributions to pay for the proposed MFF.
‘Many of the Union’s plans are now in a precarious position. While the economic impact of the crisis has yet to be counted up, it will be large. Debt will be added to each and every member state’s balance sheet, and many will be unwilling to give more to the EU to fund projects.
‘However, core projects such as CAP, the Fisheries Plan, the European Green Deal and Cohesion Funds must be protected. In many cases, they are funding communities right across the Union and, in the case of the Green Deal, will fund the transition away from damaging high-carbon activities,’ he pointed out.
‘Tough negotiations will ensue post Covid-19. I’d wager that already each member state government is actively looking at their numbers to see what they can contribute to the Union budget.
‘The Irish government must be resolute in demanding that CAP funding is maintained and not cut. They must build alliances with other like-minded countries now that the UK, our traditional ally in CAP negotiations, has left the Union.
‘This is too important a source of funding and income for rural Ireland to not dig our heels in and protect,’ concluded Mr Kelleher.