Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has welcomed further talks between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy. Negotiations ended today without an agreement but all sides have agreed to resume discussions in June with the aim of reaching a compromise. He commented,
“Although a deal wasn’t reached this week, all sides have agreed to engage further. Parliament negotiators say 80 to 90 per cent of the content has been agreed and compromises are close on eco-schemes and redistribution. It is clear that significant issues such as convergence still need to be resolved but I am cautiously optimistic that a final agreement can be reached in June, so long as there’s goodwill on all sides. It’s crucial that the process is brought to a close before the end of the Portuguese Presidency next month so that farmers can have some certainty about what lies ahead.”
The Midlands-North-West MEP believes a balance can be found between protecting farmers’ incomes and meeting environmental objectives.
“Ireland like other countries has its red-lines and I support efforts by Minister McConalogue to ensure we have flexibility and discretion to be able to make out own decisions at national level within our own national CAP plan. I also believe that we need to look beyond CAP to achieve the bulk of our climate and environmental goals. Carbon farming along with reducing methane and ammonia emissions will have a huge role to play and will need new funding streams outside of CAP.”
In conclusion, Colm Markey re-iterated that farmers want to play their part when it comes to addressing environmental challenges.
“Farmers, as custodians of our land, understand the need to adapt and are willing to play their part in protecting nature and safeguarding biodiversity. However, they must be rewarded for their efforts. In recent years, the debate around climate change has seen farmers pitted against environmentalists, which is completely misleading. Cool heads are needed. It’s time to work together and I’m calling on all sides in the CAP talks to find common ground and get the deal over the line next month.”