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Thursday, February 16, 2012

The European Commission is about to collect € 54.3 million from the Member States, due to irregular spending under the Common Agricultural Policy.

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News Within the framework of the so-called “clearance of accounts procedure”, the European Commission has asked the Member States to transfer to the EU budget an amount of € 115,2 million they had unduly spent under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In practice, only € 54.3 million are being claimed back to the Member States, as part of the money has already been recovered from them.

This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.

Main financial corrections

Under this latest decision, funds will be recovered from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The most significant individual corrections are:

- € 29.8 million (financial impact: €29.5 million) charged to UK for weaknesses in their sanctioning system and for inadequately implemented Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) and Good Agricultural and Environment Conditions (GAEC) with regard to cross-compliance;
- € 27.3 million (financial impact: 0) charged to Italy with regard to late payments to farmers;
- € 21.5 million charged to Italy for the weaknesses in the controls of mills and compatibility of yields for olive oil;
- €14.6 million (financial impact: €14.5 million) charged to the Netherlands for a deficient sanctioning system and lack of control of certain Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) and Good Agricultural and Environment Conditions (GAEC) with regard to cross-compliance.

Member States are responsible for managing most CAP payments, mainly via their paying agencies. They are also in charge of controls, for example verifying the farmer's claims for direct payments. The Commission carries out over 100 audits every year, verifying that Member State controls and responses to shortcomings are sufficient, and has the power to claw back funds in arrears if the audits show that Member State responses are not good enough to guarantee that EU funds have been spent properly.

Source :  European Commission - Press release

More information  MEMO/12/109


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