Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has confirmed that Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 has been formally resubmitted by his department to the European Commission for approval.
The updated plan takes account of the observations received from the European Commission in March and it reflects the outcome of extensive discussions with the European Commission at official and Ministerial level over the past 3 months.
Minister McConalogue said:
“I am pleased we have reached preliminary agreement on a CAP Strategic Plan for the period 2023-2027. This is another important milestone in the development of the Plan, and a very important one.
“The discussions have been held at every level to reach this agreement, including a recent meeting I had with Commissioner Wojciechowski to discuss some of the more challenging elements. The work will continue for the next few months, with the parallel processes of finalising the environmental assessments, while the Commission complete their internal reviews and legal processes.
“I’m confident that we’ve presented a robust Plan, which aims to meet the twin objectives of ensuring the continued viability of family farms and maximising the environmental and social sustainability of the sector.”
The CAP Strategic Plan received initial feedback from the European Commission in the form of an observation letter in March 2022. Since then, the department officials have met with stakeholders via the CAP Consultative Committee on three occasions. The Minister acknowledged the importance of the input and observations given by stakeholders in this period, and throughout the process.
He also noted that this collaboration will continue in the coming months, as the final legal and administrative processes, including the environmental assessments, are concluded. He noted that the department is already working to inform farmers of the details of the schemes and making the relevant preparations for the development of administrative and IT systems.
Concluding, the Minister said:
“The final CAP Strategic Plan is the outcome of a collaborative process with all stakeholders and the commitment of my officials and the European Commission to develop a plan that will ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the sector for the next five years. The budget commitment of almost €10 billion demonstrates the level of commitment of this government to farmers, and to the wider rural economy.”
The draft CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) is subject to assessment by the European Commission to ensure that it meets the economic, social and environmental objectives set out in the relevant EU legislation. Final approval is expected in September 2022, in time to allow implementation of the Plan to commence from 1 January 2023.
The CSP is subject to an ex-Ante Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment, carried out by a team of external evaluators. The draft Environmental Report of these processes was subject to public consultation in Autumn of 2021. The environmental assessment will be finalised before the CSP is brought to Government for final approval in the Autumn.
Further evaluation of the CSP
Further independent evaluations will take place at the mid-term and ex-post, and the Plan can be modified prior to, or following, those evaluations. These evaluations will include assessment of quantitative environmental performance indicators including biodiversity, water, air and climate impacts, together with relevant EU Court of Auditor reports, and will be designed in close collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and other environmental authorities as required.
Environmental ambition and sectoral targets
The CSP is projected to deliver reductions in emissions from the agricultural sector, with a reduction of up to 1.3MT in Agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2023-2027 delivered by this Plan. The CSP also has ambitious targets for biodiversity, water quality and natural resources and climate protection. It is also important to note that sectoral emissions ceilings will be addressed through a combination of CSP measures and other measures, including regulation, industry incentives, technology adoption, diversification and development of carbon farming models. The contribution made by the CSP to the sectoral emissions ceilings may be further addressed as part of the mid-term review provisions for the CSP mentioned above, if necessary.
Next steps for communications relating to the CSP
The full updated draft CSP will be uploaded to www.gov.ie/CAP in the coming weeks.
A summary booklet of Ireland’s CSP will also be published on that website, including an overview of the changes made to the CAP Strategic Plan arising from the discussions on the observation letter received from the European Commission on 31 March 2022.