Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced that Northern Ireland farmers are to receive a total of £3.6million in reimbursement payments from the European Commission.
The financial discipline mechanism was created to ensure that Direct Payments do not exceed the EU budget limit. Due to the creation of an EU Crisis Reserve, the financial discipline mechanism is triggered each year. Member States are required by European Commission Regulations to apply a percentage reduction to Direct Payments over €2,000 which is then released back to farmers the following year, if that reserve is not required.
Welcoming the reimbursement, Minister Poots said: “Approximately 21,000 farmers in Northern Ireland will receive Financial Discipline Reimbursement payments this week. This is money our farmers are entitled to and would normally be paid in December each year when balance payments are being issued. As confirmation has now been received from the European Commission on the UK reimbursement, I have authorised these further payments to commence.
“As we are leaving the EU it will mean there will no longer be a Financial Discipline applied in advance and therefore farmers will receive their full entitlement each year and no refund will be required the following year.”
Payments will issue on 01 December and reach farmers’ bank accounts within five working days. Payment letters will issue by post but can also be viewed online immediately at DAERA Online Services.
Notes to editors:
- European Commission Regulations require Member States to apply a percentage reduction to Direct Payments over €2,000. This mechanism was known as ‘financial discipline’. The deducted funds were set aside to form a ‘crisis reserve’ to be used to support agriculture in certain circumstances. If the ‘crisis reserve’ was not used, the deducted amount would be repaid to farmers in the following scheme year. The reimbursement rate would be set by the Commission in November and DAERA would include it with December balance payments.
- Financial Discipline Reimbursement percentage is 1.394079% on amounts above €2,000.
- The repayment varies in relation to the total value of Direct Payment they receive, so not every farmer gets the same amount
- All eligible farm businesses will receive a payment letter by post. The payment letter can also be viewed online via accessing the farm business account on DAERA Online Services.
- Around 21,000 farmers would be eligible for reimbursement of financial discipline. Total payment to be released is £3.6million.
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