BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The European Commission said on Feb. 26 that it will claim back €414 million of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) expenditure unduly spent by member states as part of the so-called clearance of accounts procedure.
Member states are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the CAP, and the Commission is required to ensure that member states have made correct use of the funds. This money returns to the E.U. budget because of non-compliance with E.U. rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Because some of these amounts have already been recovered from the member states the net financial impact of this decision will be €393 million.
Under this latest decision, funds will be recovered from 22 member states including: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the U.K. The most significant individual corrections are:
• €111.7 million (net financial impact: €99.4 million) charged to the U.K. - England for weaknesses in the Land Parcel Identification and Geographic Information Systems (LPIS-GIS), in the processing of applications, in administrative cross checks and in on-the-spot controls with regard to area aid;
• €48.3 million (net financial impact: €48.1 million) charged to Italy for infringements in cross compliance: poor control of several statutory management requirements (SMRs), three undefined good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAECs) and incorrect application of sanctions;
• €40.6 million charged to Spain for shortcomings in the management and control of export refunds: deficient ex-ante checks on beef, weaknesses in execution of physical checks, inadequate checks on production and stock of sugar, advance notice of physical checks given to the exporters;
• €34.4 million charged to Poland for weaknesses in the management of the early retirement scheme under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural development (EAFRD);
• €29 million charged to France for deficiencies in the on-the-spot controls in Natural Handicaps and Agri-environment measures under the EAFRD;
• €17.9 million charged to Italy for a gravely deficient control system and fraud in the citrus processing sector;
• €17.7 million (net financial impact: €15.7 million) charged to the U.K. – Northern Ireland for weaknesses in LPIS-GIS, on-the-spot checks, payments and sanctions with regard to area aid;
• €16 million charged to Spain for deficiencies in the allocation of entitlements to beneficiaries for area aid;
• €12.5 million charged to Romania for weaknesses in the controls of beneficiaries' eligibility and expenses as well as for deficiencies in the application of sanctions in the "Modernization of agricultural holdings" measure under the EAFRD.
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