UFU welcomes Ciolos comment on convergence and continues to lobby in Brussels

Thursday, 25 April, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed EU Commissioner Ciolos’ announcement this week that the EU Commission has accepted that the transition to a flat rate direct payment under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) must happen over a longer period of time and will not happen in full by 2019. 

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “The UFU has consistently argued that reaching a flat rate direct payment by 2019 is unrealistic and does not give farmers enough time to adequately prepare their businesses for this transition. A longer transition period is necessary to ensure that farm businesses remain viable. The announcement from EU Commissioner Ciolos that he recognises this is very welcome news.” 

UFU President Harry Sinclair and UFU Chief Executive Clarke Black continued to lobby on behalf of UFU members in relation to CAP reform this week and returned to Brussels to meet with Capoulas Santos, the EU Parliament’s rapporteur on direct payments, and other MEPs.

Harry Sinclair continued; “We had very productive meetings with Capoulas Santos and the other MEPs with regards to CAP reform. We reiterated our concerns about active farmers, the transition period, greening, and the transfer of funds between Pillars 1 and 2. I believe the MEPs we met now have a better understanding of the position of Northern Ireland’s farmers and that these significant issues need to be addressed promptly.”