While it says it cannot guarantee that existing EU payments will be safeguarded until 2020, the Welsh Government has said it would be doing everything possible to protect the interests of the Welsh farming industry.
In a clarification statement, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, says the outcome of the EU referendum would have reverberations for years to come.
“There is uncertainty as we wait for the next Prime Minister to trigger the negotiations on the terms of UK withdrawal and our future relationship with the European Union,” she says.
“Agriculture, fisheries, animal health, protection of the natural environment and biodiversity are fundamentally wired into European policies with legislation and funding.
“The devolution settlement has given us significant control over our policies and actions in these areas and we must design solutions for the Welsh context.
“The Common Agricultural Policy alone was to bring €2.6 billion to Wales for the 2014 – 2020 programme period and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund a further €14.7 million.
“The First Minister has clearly stated we will press during the negotiations for continuity in all the major EU programmes until the end of 2020 and for continued access to EU markets,” adds the statement.
“Pillar 1 of the CAP is an annual scheme and will continue on an annual basis until the UK’s exit becomes final. We will know that date in advance and I will inform stakeholders in order they have time to plan.
The Rural Development Programme (Pillar 2) is more complex.
The First Minister has sought assurances from the Prime Minister that whenever the EU funds cease, an equivalent amount will be given to the Welsh Government to allow continuity in the planned programme.
“To date, he has not received that assurance, therefore, there is uncertainty as to our future funding streams but anyone currently holding a contract can be assured the Welsh Government will honour it.
“Where stakeholders are applying for a scheme that is in progress, we advise them to continue with the process. Where their project will complete in a relatively short timescale, we will be more confident of being able to fund it.
“However, where a project extends beyond 2018, we now have to delay the decision until we are sure of our future funding. This affects Glastir 2017 applicants, since their contracts would run until 2021.
“We are pausing work on these but will update stakeholders when we receive further information from the UK Government.”