Gilmore acknowledges pressure on Ireland's share of farm spending
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore noted pressure on the EU budget from contributor countries as he acknowledged a threat to Ireland’s €1.7 billion share of annual agriculture spending in a summit beginning tomorrow.
Amid deep divisions between member states, EU leaders have scheduled two days of talks in Brussels on a new seven-year budget for the union.
The negotiation is expected to drag into the weekend but a contentious British campaign for a budget freeze and demands for increased cohesion funding from poorer countries have cast doubt over the likelihood of a deal being struck at all.
European Council president Herman Van Rompuy will table a fresh compromise proposal tomorrow night after he and European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso conduct a day of bilateral meetings with heads of state and governments.
Mr Van Rompuy has already proposed cutting the Commission’s €1.03 trillion proposal by €80 billion, including a €25 billion cut in agriculture spending. This prompted Mr Gilmore to say ahead of pre-summit talks yesterday that he was already concerned about Ireland’s share of the agriculture budget.
Mr Gilmore said he had told a meeting on Monday night that the Common Agricultural Policy and policies to promote economic growth were hugely important to Ireland.
“I underlined the importance of the CAP, the role of the agrifood sector in economic growth and the creating of jobs and the necessity for us to have a European budget that is capable of delivering for us on the jobs agenda,” he told reporters.
“What we want to do is we want to maximise Ireland’s benefit from the European budget. We want to maximise the budget itself. “We have consistently supported the Commission proposals. But I think there are a number of member states who are seeking to reduce that.”
EU administration commissioner Maros Sefcovic said yesterday that wealthy donor countries and budget beneficiaries remained apart but the crunch moment was approaching, he felt.