11th November 2020 | Biodiversity, EU, Press Releases

Minister Pippa Hackett welcomes increased ambition for biodiversity in EU negotiations

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As the negotiations among the European Parliament, the Council, and the EU Commission begin on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), the Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett, remains optimistic that real progress with the EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies can be achieved.

Speaking today, Senator Hackett said: 

“There has been some positive news for biodiversity from the continued EU negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and an outline agreement has indicated that from 2024, 7.5% of the annual spend will be dedicated to biodiversity, with this figure increasing to 10% from 2026 onwards. However, this commitment is still subject to further endorsement from the EU. 

“I remain focused and determined to deliver real and sustained improvements in biodiversity during this government’s term in office” she says. “We have made significant commitments to climate and biodiversity, and strong direction from the EU will make that job easier for us. Projects piloted during the 2-year transition phase will help to inform us what our new CAP schemes should look like.

“Whatever the final decision of the EU, Ireland will have scope to design its own eco-schemes as part of Pillar 1, as well as the agri-environmental measures under the Rural Development Programme. I’m confident that habitat creation, peatlands rewetting, and tree planting will feature in a big way. We need to continue to support our relatively small-scale family farms to deliver high quality food, as well as delivering on public goods, and the ever-important environmental outcomes.

“The challenge here at home will be to design eco-schemes in a way that engages Irish farmers to deliver on climate and biodiversity commitments, while at the same time support family farm incomes. We already have some great examples from around the country, and I look forward to working with farmers and environmentalists to help inform and design the eco-schemes which should feature heavily in the new CAP payment schemes.

 Green MEPs had called on European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to withdraw the CAP, out of concern that the proposed CAP didn’t go far enough in terms of meaningful Green measures.

Ireland South MEP Grace O’Sullivan said: “While the Commission President would not withdraw it, she has indicated that she will do everything she can to make it green.

“It is heartening also that member states have discretion around the implementation of any proposed CAP on the ground. I trust that my colleague Minister Pippa Hackett, along with other members of Government, will be doing everything they can to ensure that CAP will be rolled out in Ireland in a way that acknowledges and tackles the climate and biodiversity emergency we are in, whilst supporting farmers as they transition into more environmentally sustainable farming.”