A total of €180m of agricultural policy funds wrongly spent by member states will be claimed back by the European Commission under the so-called “clearance of accounts procedure”. Ireland is to pay €6m due to errors to its intervention storage and area aid claims within the Single Farm Payments, it was announced this week.

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,” the EC said in a statement this week.

In its detail, its said Ireland has to pay back in total just under €6m for errors in:

  • €.4m: For Invention storage, correction proposed for ineligible amounts compensated in the framework of the exceptional support measure for the pig meat and beef market
  • €5.5m: Area aid, correction proposed for weakeness in the (Land Parcel Identification System – Geographical Information System) LPIS-GIS on the spot checks and in registration and control procedures of common land, application of undue tolerances during admin cross-checks, incorrect penalty calculations.

Under its decision, funds will be recovered from 15 member states in total. Ireland ranks well compared to other countries.

The most significant individual corrections were:

  • €40.4m charged to UK for weaknesses related to the LPIS-GIS, to the on-the-spot checks and to the payments and sanctions in Scotland
  • €39.2m charged to Poland for weaknesses related to the LPIS-GIS, administrative cross-checks, payments, application of sanctions, retro-active recoveries and the lateness of on-the-spot checks
  • € 18.6m charged to UK for deficiencies in the allocation of entitlements
  • € 11.5m charged to Denmark for deficiencies in the LPIS and in the on-the-spot controls

Ireland responsible for managing its CAP payments, mainly via their paying agencies. It is also in charge of controls, for example verifying the farmer’s claims for direct payments on their farm.

The Commission carries out more than 100 audits every year, verifying that Ireland and other countries controls and responses to shortcomings are sufficient. It also has the power to claw back funds in arrears if the audits show management and control is not good enough to guarantee that EU funds have been spent properly.

More details on this system is available here.

Pictured European Commission/Image, Shutterstock