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EU asks refund for over 400 MN Euro inadequately spent in agriculture

de Radu Rizea
Joi, 10 iulie 2008, 13:11 English | Regional Europe

Several states in the European Union will have to pay back to the European Commission some 410.3 unduly spent on illegal agriculture subsidies, BBC and Forbes announced on Thursday. The largest amount to be refund is due by Italy - 145 million euro, because it didn't check the surface eligible for EU subsidies. EC also announced that signs of fraud were found, as well as problems with citric fruits processing.

The EU release:

Commission to recover € 410.3 million of CAP expenditure from the Member States

A total of € 410.3 million of EU farm money unduly spent by Member States is claimed back as a result of a decision adopted by the European Commission. The money returns to the Community budget because of inadequate control procedures or non-compliance with EU rules 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.

Commenting on the decision, Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "We are working extremely hard to maintain the best possible control over farm spending. The Court of Auditors has noted considerable improvements in our control system over recent years and we are striving to make things better still. This is taxpayers' money and they have a right to know it is being spent wisely."

Main financial corrections

Under this latest decision, the 28th since the 1995 reform of the system for recovering unduly spent CAP money, funds will be recovered from Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. The most significant individual corrections are:

    * € 145.2 million charged to Italy for weaknesses in the photo-interpretation of images and in the on-the-spot control procedure based on images from earlier years concerning arable crops (area aids) payments;
    * € 127.7 million charged to Greece for shortcomings in LPIS-GIS system and in on-the-spot checks concerning area aids and nuts payments;
    * € 69.4 million charged to Great Britain for inappropriate timing of the follow-up field visits and for the inaccurate determination of the area eligible for payments.

For details on how the clearance of annual accounts system works, see MEMO/06/178 and the factsheet "Managing the agriculture budget wisely", available on the internet at:

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