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Minister Coveney Announces EU Agreement for Advance Payment of SPS

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today confirmed that agreement has been reached in Brussels this morning which provides for an advance payment under the 2011 Single Payment Scheme. "I am very pleased at the level of support evident at today's meeting, the Minister said, adding "This will now allow Ireland to make advance payments, at a rate of 50%, to eligible applicants, with effect from 16 October, with balancing payments being made with effect from 1 December".

The Minister explained that his approach to the Agriculture Commissioner had been prompted by the cash-flow difficulties affecting farming and the wider community. "I am particularly conscious of the difficulties caused for farmers by the current financial crisis and am also acutely aware of the significance to the wider rural economy of the Single Payment" the Minister said, noting that the total value of the advance payments which will begin issuing as and from 16 October, the first day of the new EU financial year, will release payments worth some €600 million. "There are real financial benefits for the rural economy in making these payments six weeks earlier than otherwise provided for under the rules of the scheme" the Minister added.

In conclusion, the Minister noted that the proposal to opt for the advance payment, as proposed by the EU Commission at today’s meeting of the Direct Payments Management Committee in Brussels, received unanimous support from all Member States. "I wish to record my thanks to the Commissioner for the immediate and positive response to the request of Ireland and other the Member States that provision be made for this advance payment. I can assure all concerned that my officials will do all that's needed to ensure the maximum number of applicants receive their advance payment at the earliest possible date", he said.

Date Released: 07 July 2011