UFU welcomes EU Agriculture Council agreement on transition period flexibility

Following the latest meeting of the EU Agriculture Council, the Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed Ministers broad agreement, in principle, to allow for more flexibility in the transition process to a reformed CAP where Member States will move towards implementing a more flat rate direct support payment by 2019. 

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “This is a very positive development and a step in the right direction as work continues to finalise the CAP proposals. The UFU has been pushing for a flexible transition process and this broad agreement from the Farming Ministers is definitely good news. Having more flexibility would mean that the transition to a flatter rate payment by 2019 would be easier on our farmers and allow them more time to forward plan for their businesses. 

“This meeting of the EU Agriculture Council shows that the negotiations around the CAP proposals are well and truly underway. We can expect a lot to be happening in the next few weeks as the Council and the EU Parliament work to finalise their positions by the end of March.”
Last week Harry Sinclair and UFU Chief Executive Clarke Black were in Dublin meeting with the heads of other EU Farming Unions.

Harry Sinclair continued; “At the meeting last week we all agreed that the Commission’s proposals did not have enough flexibility when it came to the transition process. There is concern that the rapid move to a flat rate payment would undermine the viability of many farms. We want to see a more gradual redistribution process that helps to ease farmers through this transition period and limits the loss in direct payments that an individual active farmer may incur.

“We also welcome the position taken by the DARD Minister on supporting such a transitionary approach."