The President of ICMSA has urged Irish MEPs to reject an EU Commission proposal to transfer €450 million of recouped CAP funds out of the budget allocated to helping farmers deal with the fall-out arising from Russia’s import ban and into EU Humanitarian Aid and development commitments. John Comer said that while no-one was advocating a lessening of EU aid programmes, it was desperately unfair to fund such programmes through the simple expedient of stripping monies away from the EU’s farmers who are sector most specifically affected by the Russian decision – which was itself a reaction to a political decision taken by the EU.
Mr Comer said that if the Commission’s proposal goes through it will have the net effect of double-penalising the EU’s farmers by allowing the Commission to take a decision with regards to Russia that was always going to impact farming and food production disproportionately and then – having set up a fund for emergency aid to those farmers most affected by their decision and the consequent Russian reaction – permitting the Commission to ‘dip in’ to these allocated funds to top-up emergency aid and development programmes. Mr Comer said that farmers’ sense of injustice would be compounded by the fact that the recouped CAP funds were mostly comprised of superlevy fines and spending errors and that, as such, had actually come from farmers in the first place and not out of other general funds. The ICMSA President said that extra funding for humanitarian aid and development programmes must come out of sources other than the overall CAP Budget.
Ends 22 October 2014.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office