On Friday 5 April, Commissioner Phil Hogan participated in a Citizens' Dialogue at the Institute of Technology Tralee. He was joined by Fine Gael (EPP) MEP Sean Kelly and Dr Oliver Murphy, President of the Institute of Technology Tralee.
A central focus of the dialogue was on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy, in particular funding for agricultural research.
Commissioner Hogan outlined how the EU has taken major steps over the last five years to strengthen agriculture research and innovation by doubling investment under Horizon 2020, the EU’s main programme for research and innovation. For the next EU budget, the Commission was going even further.
Commissioner Hogan said "We rely on more knowledge and technology to meet the challenge of producing sufficient - and sufficiently healthy – food while facing more extreme weather, resource scarcity, fickle markets and demanding consumers.
Global events of recent years such as droughts and climate change bring agricultural science, research and innovation back to the prominent position they deserve".
Commissioner Hogan added that the Common Agricultural Policy supported agriculture research and innovation by providing money for innovative on-farm investments, for setting up new companies in rural areas, and through the European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture.
Commenting on the IT Tralee's new degree programme in International Agricultural Engineering, the Commissioner noted that it “will provide a new generation with the knowledge, skills and international networks to innovate and thrive within agri-food businesses and beyond.
We are all familiar with the demographic challenge in the agri-food sector: a new generation of educated young agri-engineers, agri-scientists and agri-entrepreneurs are urgently needed to take up the challenge.”
Commissioner Hogan noted that “By supporting research and innovation with Horizon 2020 funding and the Common Agricultural Policy over the past five years, the European Union demonstrated its commitment to investing in the future. We plan to dramatically increase this support in the next EU budget to 2027. Through such funding, the proposed CAP reform and by supporting initiatives such as IT Tralee's new degree programme, I believe we have framed a smart blueprint for bringing the EU’s farming and rural development policy into the 21st century.”