If the government’s current strategy to secure a satisfactory outcome to the reform of the CAP fails to gain the necessary support, there could be no question of developing an alternative regionalisation policy.
This was the opinion expressed by Independent MEP Marian Harkin following a series of meeting she organised in Brussels for farmers from her constituency.
“These meetings involved briefings with European Commission officials and Irish MEPs, in which the farmers from Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal and Mayo were updated on the present status of the CAP reform process and gave their views of the particular requirements of family farmers in the West and Northwest,” Marian Harkin said.
“The farmers were unanimous in emphasising the vital role of Pillar II of the CAP which contains the important income-sustaining schemes for disadvantaged areas,” she noted.
“Particular concern was expressed to the European Commission officials and MEPs that, in the event of failure to have a new CAP in place by January 1 2014, the temporary regulations necessary to fund both Pillars at existing levels for 2014 should be agreed,” the Ireland North & West MEP added.
“Of particular concern to the farmers was the suggestion by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney that, if his approximation proposal proved unacceptable at European Council level, he would have to consider a regionalisation policy.
“Under no circumstances should Minister Coveney consider a regionalisation policy as its implementation would decimate family farming in the Western and North-western counties.
“As confirmed at our meeting with Commission officials, the European Commission would not be insisting on a regionalisation policy for any EU country and therefore there is absolutely no pressure on Ireland to introduce one,” Marian Harkin MEP concluded.