Saturday

25th May 2019

Luxembourg: least transparent EU country on farm subsidies

  • Luxembourg is the least transparent member state when it comes to disclosing EU farm subsidies. (Photo: European Commission)

Journalists and activists at the farmsubsidy.org group have ranked Luxembourg as the least transparent member state when it comes to disclosing beneficiaries of EU farm aid.

Last year, the EU forked out around €55 billion of farm subsidies from the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). The money is supposed to help shape rural development and provide the EU with food security.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Member states are supposed to publish details by 30 April of each year on who receives what and how much.

But almost two weeks past deadline and Luxembourg, according to farmsubsidy.org, have yet to publish any details.

The country received €49 million in EU farm subsidies or approximately €24,693 per farm in 2008.

It also ranked 26th in the group's transparency index in 2011 for money handed out in 2010. It now ranks 28, just below Greece and Cyprus.

Luxembourg's agriculture ministry declined to comment on the findings.

The rankings are based on weighted averages on a number of criteria. These include the number of years for which data has been released, the amount of detail in the data, and the format of disclosure.

Some countries may include data in PDF format which is difficult and time-consuming to crunch. Other countries such as Denmark and Sweden release comprehensive data that is easier to assess. Both top the group's list as the most transparent.

Meanwhile, a Court of Justice case ruled in November 2010 that publishing the names of individual farmers or other individuals who receive the money is now a violation of privacy rights.

"Member states and the EU are using the Court of Justice ruling to put farm subsidy data into the dark," farmsubsidy.org's Nils Mulvad told EUobserver in Copenhagen.

Member states this year have published only nine percent of the total recipients they disclosed in comparison to 2009, says Mulvad. Some 41 percent of the total amount, or €22.7 billion dispersed in 2011, has so far been revealed.

The European Commission, for its part, argues it has little say in the quality of the data or how and when member states reveal the beneficiaries.

"It is up to member states themselves to publish who gets what from CAP," said Roger Waite, spokesperson for EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos.

The only criteria the commission imposes is that member states must create an online searchable database. Users of the databases must also be able to break down the information according to direct payments, other market measures such as export reforms and rural development. The databases also need to provide the sum total of all three pay-out farm subsidiary categories.

But obtaining and sorting the information is proving more difficult than previously.

Italy introduced changes to its online database that makes search queries almost impossible.

Farmsubsidy.org's Mulvad also pointed out that France's database is corrupted by incorrect data. "They included zip codes in the database but these are not always correct," he said. "We have to enter the incorrect zip codes to get the correct data," he added.

Talks collapse on access to EU documents

The EU Council's former top lawyer explains why legal advice should be kept secret, as talks collapse on new freedom of information rules.

EU top court backs Canada trade deal in ruling

The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that the EU-Canada free trade agreement, and its controversial dispute settlement mechanism, is in line with the bloc's rules.

EU and Japan in delicate trade talks

The Japanese PM comes to Brussels to discuss the first results of the new EU-Japan free trade deal, plus WTO reform - a sensitive topic before he moves onto Washington to face Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  2. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  3. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  4. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  5. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  6. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  7. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'
  8. EU sanctions regime cannot be an 'EU Magnitsky Act'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us