A total of €335 million of EU agricultural policy funds, unduly spent by Member States, is being claimed back by the European Commission today under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure. However, because some of these amounts have already been recovered from the Member States the financial impact of today's decision will be some €304 million. 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 15 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden. The most significant individual corrections are:
€ 141.8 million (financial impact1 : €141.5 million) charged to France for weaknesses related to cross-compliance
€ 78.8 million (financial impact1 : €66.6 million) charged to Greece for weaknesses related to deficiencies in allocation of entitlements
€ 24.3 million (financial impact1 : €24.1 million) charged to the Netherlands for weakness in functioning of LPIS, in on-the-spot checks and in calculation of payments and sanctions
€ 22.2 million (financial impact1 : €21.0 million) charged to Greece for weaknesses related to cross-compliance
€ 17.7 million (financial impact1 : €10.9 million) charged to France for weaknesses related to the recognition of producers organisations of fruit and vegetables.
Following the European Court judgement (T-2/11) against a previous Commission decision, Portugal will be reimbursed €0.5 million.
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 management and control is not good enough to guarantee that EU funds have been spent properly.
For details on how the clearance of annual accounts system works, see MEMO/12/109 and the factsheet 'Managing the agriculture budget wisely', available on the internet at:http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/fin/clearance/factsheet_en.pdf.
Details of the individual corrections, by Member State and by sector, are given in the tables attached (annexes I and II).
Please, download the document to see the tables.