Laois farms have been told to apply for a new €8 billion EU Covid-19 recovery fund when it comes on stream in early 2021.
The new fun has been described as ‘a major win for rural communities in Ireland’ according to MEP Billy Kelleher who says that ‘Laois farmers should seriously consider making applications’.
Kelleher was commenting after the European Parliament and Council agreed on the broad terms of the new recovery fund for farmers and rural communities to support them recover after the pandemic.
He said: “Initially, it was announced that the total fund would be €7.5 billion but common-sense has prevailed and it has increased to just over €8 billion. The exact allocation for each member state is being calculated at present.
“Importantly, distribution of the fund will be front loaded in 2021 – this is something the European Parliament demanded in its negotiations with the European Commission and the European Council. I firmly believe that the funds need to be distributed as soon as possible when the need is greatest.
“Some of the broad criteria of the fund have also been announced with 37% being set aside for environment and climate related actions such as organic farming, and animal welfare and 55% for young farmers’ start-ups and on-farm investments that contribute to a resilient, sustainable and digital recovery.
“Some technical amendments are now required to existing legislation to put this new fund into force but I fully expect these to be adopted by mid-December.
“At the same time, the European Commission will draft application processes and criteria, and guidance will be issued to the Irish Department of Agriculture that will allow for applications from farmers in early 2021.
“This is a much needed stimulus for farmers and rural communities in addition to CAP budgets. I have been following this file for some time.
“I am delighted that significant progress has been made and that Laois farmers will be able to apply and secure funding in early 2021.”
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