The Department of Agriculture is set to make €21.7m Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) refunds to over 100,000 farmers, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced.

This money was deducted from 2020 BPS payments under “financial discipline” and is now being reimbursed to farmers in line with European Union (EU) regulations.

The financial discipline mechanism used involves a monetary deduction (2.9% for the 2020 reduction) from some direct payments. The deductions are made to provide finance for the provision of a financial crisis reserve for the EU and its member states.

It is part of the annual budgetary procedure of the EU.

Minister McConalogue said: "I am pleased to confirm that these payments are now being reimbursed to eligible farmers. These payments will bring the total paid to Irish farmers under the 2020 BPS to over €1.183bn."

Crisis reserve

The crisis reserve for which the BPS money is deducted is intended to provide additional support for the agricultural sector in the case of major crises affecting agricultural production or distribution.

Earlier this year, a reserve of some €500m was announced by the European Commission in reaction to the impact of the war in Ukraine.

If the crisis reserve is not activated in any given financial year or if it is not fully utilised, the unused balance is refunded to farmers in the subsequent financial year.

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