Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has welcomed the European Commission’s confirmation that it will reimburse €444million to EU farmers.
The funds concerned were originally deducted from farmers’ direct payments in the 2018 budget year through so-called ‘financial discipline’ to fund the crisis reserve. This reserve fund is designed to support the industry in times of crisis such as extreme weather or disease outbreaks.
The first €2,000 of farmers’ payment are exempt from the deduction and unspent crisis reserve funds are reimbursed to Member States at the end of each budget year. National capitals must reimburse their portion of the €444million to eligible farmers - the farmers who had financial discipline applied to their direct payments - before 16 October 2019.
Commenting Mr Nicholson said:“I welcome the European Commission’s confirmation that it is to return €444million of unspent crisis reserve to farmers.
“I am led to believe that for the 2018 budget year €39.61 million will be returned to the UK. I have contacted DAERA seeking confirmation as to the amount that will be returned to Northern Ireland and the number of farm businesses that can expect to have funds reimbursed.
“It is important that the funds are returned to eligible farmers as soon as possible.”