Study: Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan: fairer or still unfair?

This study examined Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 published on the 8th November 2021. It aimed to shed light on the flexibility granted by the CAP legislation to design fairer and green CAP Strategic Plans. 

Overall, the study found that Ireland’s draft CAP plan made some steps forward compared to the current programming period 2014-2020. However, compared to the flexibility granted by the EU legislation, Ireland’s draft plan shows minimal ambition. For instance, Ireland could have proposed a full internal convergence rate at 100%; explored higher redistributive payments (e.g. 12%, 15%); designed and implemented an ambitious small farmer scheme; implemented social conditionality as of the 2023 programming period; or revised the criteria to recognise producer organisations under sectorial support.

Some recommendations for the European Commission, Irish decisionmakers, and policy analysts involved in the final design, appraisal and approval of Ireland’s draft Plan:

  • Carry out the mandatory ex-ante evaluation of the draft CAP Strategic Plan including an assessment of whether the plan addresses unfair distribution of CAP agricultural subsidies and structural inequities in the agri-food system and across the country.
  • Examine whether Ireland’s draft CAP plan complies with the recommendations set out in December 2020 by the European Commission on the alignment of CAP strategic plans with the EU Green Deal.

Wider recommendations to ensure a fairer CAP:

  • The creation of a unique beneficiary code to track and visualise the distribution of Ireland’s CAP resources among recipients and geographical areas.