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Minister welcomes Commission response on Single Payment Scheme Advance Payments

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today welcomed the response of the European Commission to her request for approval of advance payments under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme.

The Minister said "I am particularly conscious of the cash-flow difficulties experienced by farmers, accentuated under the new Single Payment Scheme, where only one payment is made annually. Mindful of these difficulties and also of the adverse weather conditions experienced by farmers during the summer months, I approached the Commissioner, seeking approval for an advance payment, payable from 16 October, the start of the new EU financial year. I am happy to report that my officials have received a written response from the Commission Services, indicating that they will immediately bring forward proposals for an advance payment. I have asked my officials to press for the maximum possible advance payment from 16 October, at that meeting."

The Minister went on to explain that these proposals are now scheduled to be discussed at next week's meeting of the EU Management Committee on Direct Payments, in Brussels. "I have asked my officials to press for the maximum possible advance payment from 16 October, at that meeting," she added. Minister Coughlan confirmed that farmers would receive balancing payments from 1 December, in respect of all applications that are fully cleared.

In respect of payment arrangements for 2007 and subsequent years, the Minister added "I am particularly heartened by the indication that the Commission is prepared to examine our proposals that the payment date be brought forward permanently from 1 December to 16 October. This will be a matter for future discussion, but one which I shall vigorously pursue".

13 September, 2006

Date Released: 13 September 2006