CAP payments could be cut in wake of Brexit – Merkel’s No 2 says

German’s Vice Chancellor has called into question the future of farmers CAP payments from the EU.

Sigmar Gabriel, who is Angela Merkel’s second-in-command, said in a wide-ranging piece for the newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung. The German heavyweight also called for Brussels to look again at its budget, questioning the amount of money spent on agricultural policy.

“The EU budget needs to be checked whether the system is still correct when we spend on the 40% of the funds for agricultural policy, while stands for research, innovation or education significantly less money.”

The German vice-chancellor’s remarks drew instant criticism from Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue who has called for assurances on CAP payments in light of political speculation over its future after the Brexit referendum.

“Knee jerk reaction by important European politicians does not help the volatile situation after the Brexit referendum. CAP is a cornerstone of the EU.

“It secures the livelihoods of farmers across the continent including 130,000 family farms in Ireland. CAP ensures that over 510m people have a safe, secure supply of food and helps keep custody of our countryside.

“That cornerstone should be defended and upheld in these deeply uncertain times,” explained Deputy McConalogue.

Brexit Impact

According to McConalogue, Brexit could potentially lead to a €1.27bn reduction in the overall CAP budget, which is worth €54bn.

“Negative soundings from key EU figures at this stage only adds to uncertainty around the future of CAP and the central role it plays in farmers’ livelihoods. Minister Creed needs to work to ensure the CAP 2014-2020 budget is secured and fight Ireland’s corner in future CAP reform discussions. The futures of 130,000 family farmers across Ireland are at stake.

“Minister Creed needs to work to ensure the CAP 2014-2020 budget is secured and fight Ireland’s corner in future CAP reform discussions. The futures of 130,000 family farmers across Ireland are at stake.

“In addition to fighting our corner in the EU budget discussion post Brexit, we need to work towards a fair trade deal with the UK that recognises Ireland’s unique relationship as the only country with a land border with Britain,” he said.