Following on from the breakdown in discussions over the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Brussels last week, local MEP Marian Harkin has insisted that the current domestic strategy in respect of the matter, “has failed to gain the necessary support”.
Speaking to the Leader on Monday, Ms Harkin, MEP pointed to the fact that the Irish Government’s strategy had failed in this instance and the emergence of an alternative regionalisation policy – as a possible result of that - was simply “out of the question”.
“These meetings involved briefings with European Commission officials and Irish MEPs, where the farmers from Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal and Mayo were updated on the present status of the CAP reform process,” she said. “They gave their views of the particular requirements of family farmers in the West and Northwest and were unanimous in emphasising the vital role of Pillar II of the CAP, which contains the important income-sustaining schemes for disadvantaged areas.”
The North/West MEP went on to say that concerns had been raised in Europe over the possibility of failures in meeting the requirements under the new CAP, by 2014 and with regard to the temporary regulations on the funding of both pillars at existing levels for 2014.
“Of particular concern to the farmers was the suggestion by the Minister Simon Coveney that, if his approximation proposal proved unacceptable at European Council level, he would then have to consider a regionalisation policy,” Ms Harkin, MEP continued. “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.”