IRELAND South MEP, Billy Kelleher has called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his counterparts across Europe to champion at EU Council level a proposal by the European Parliament’s Agri Committee to extend the current CAP rules by two years and also to demand a stronger budget.
The Fianna Fáil MEP was commenting after the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee voted on a report put forward by his Renew Europe colleague, Elsi Katainen from Finland, that extends the current CAP plan by an additional two years to give stability and certainty to farmers.
‘Importantly, the report passed by the Committee also calls for a strengthened budget,’ said Mr Kelleher. ‘This is something that is desperately needed by rural communities – not only because of depressed prices but also because of the economic hardship that the Covid-19 pandemic will bring.
‘Farmers want and need regulatory stability and financial certainty if they are to invest in their futures, and also protect their livelihoods. Now, more than ever, food security is on the agenda; without farmers, there is no food let alone security.’
He pointed out that the Agri Committee’s decision will only matter if it gets approved swiftly by the EU Council and urged Minister Creed to take up this opportunity and seek support from across the other 26 member states.
‘Right across Europe, farmers and rural communities are suffering. Not only do they need to know what rules will apply to them from January 1st, 2021, they also need additional funding. If we want farmers to help deliver a climate-neutral Europe, they need to be in a financially-strong position – this proposal gives that ambition hope.
‘The European Parliament has done its job. It’s now up to national governments, Ireland included, to do theirs,’ concluded Mr Kelleher.