Monday, October 30, 2006

Too many errors in CAP payments

In its annual report on the EU's farm accounts in 2005, the Court of Auditors 'found that CAP expenditure [€48.466 billion last year] was still affected by a material level of error which is not detected or prevented bt the supervisory and control systems.' It noted 'weak internal controls for the majority of EU expenditure, both within member states, and at the Commission, and a high incidence of errors in the underlying transactions.'

Greece was singled out as the worst offender. The Court declared that the quality of inspections in Greece was low and that the reporting of results was unreliable. Farmers' unions are responsible in Greece for inputting all data into the computer system, and can make changes whenever they want - without the changes being recorded. Not surprisingly, instances of farmers exaggerating the size of their land are not uncommon.

All of the olive oil subsidies examined in southern countries were found to contain either an overpayment and/or one of more formal errors. This led the Court to ask whether the Geographical Information System, the system of aerial photographs used to verify the existence of olive tree parcels was doing its job.

The Commission got quite humpy about the Court's findings complaining about its 'focus on finding individual errors in small smaples of transactions.' The Commission noted with apparent pride that it had clawed back €2.17 billion in ineligible payments in 2005. So that's all right then.

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