Farm Background

ICMSA point out that CAP was “never envisaged or designed” to lower emissions

Commenting on the EU Auditors’ report regarding CAP and climate emissions, the President of ICMSA,  Pat McCormack, said that those expressing shock and horror at the failure of CAP spending to lower agri-emissions obviously misunderstood the purpose and function of CAP.

“If it wasn’t so serious, this kind of fundamental misunderstanding would nearly be amusing.   For the umpteenth time can I just explain to those expressing their shock and horror at the EU Auditors’ statement that (A) CAP was never envisaged or designed to lower agri-emissions and (B) is now being repurposed in a very crude and – we would argue – ineffectual way to incorporate that aim?   CAP was designed to ensure the supply of superb quality food to then EEC consumers in the decades after the War.   The direct payments actually functioned as a subsidy to the retailers allowing them to systematically underpay the farmers for the food the retailers then sold on to the consumers.   That is how CAP came into being and that it how it functioned.    The incorporation or ‘bolt-on’ of the sustainability and environmental dimensions was always going to be completely unwieldy and unworkable because the EU was actually now making a system with one focus – provision of high quality food at low prices – into a dual-purpose system: high quality food and high environmental standards at artificially low prices”, said Mr McCormack

“As ICMSA has pointed out on numerous occasions before: you cannot have both.  You can either have low food prices and low environmental standards or high food prices and high environmental standards. But you can’t – I repeat, you cannot – have cheap food and high environmental standards. Can everybody get their heads around that?”  

Ends.       23 June 2021

Pat McCormack, 087-76089658

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office