Reduced Cap cuts still unacceptable, says Kenny

Sat, Nov 24, 2012, 00:00

The Taoiseach said cutbacks from the Common Agricultural Policy remained unacceptable to Ireland even after European Council president Herman van Rompuy eased his demand for a smaller budget.

Leaving Brussels after the summit, Enda Kenny said Mr van Rompuy’s move to reduce his proposed cut by €7.7 billion to €17.3 billion went part of the way to address the concerns raised by Cap supporters.

Mr Kenny said the dominant sentiment after the talks was one of upbeat confidence. “Clearly there wasn’t a feeling that it should go on today without being able to deal with some of the details that some of the countries have,” he said.

The compromise Mr van Rompuy tabled on agriculture was not acceptable to quite a number of countries, he said.

“Obviously I made a very strong defence of the importance of the Cap for Ireland, from which we get 85 per cent of our income and also the question of recognition of the reality of unemployment, dealing with rural development and particular regions within the country.”

While any cut to the Cap budget threatens some of Ireland’s €1.7 billion in annual receipts from the policy, there was a very strong understanding of the sector’s importance “even from contributor countries”.

Deeper cuts

Asked if he agreed with demands for deeper cuts in the EU administration budget from British prime minister David Cameron, Mr Kenny said many speakers said administration spending was always under review in national budgets “no more than happens at home”.

“There were a range of views about administration, about a range of other things but there wasn’t any bitterness in the meeting at all.”