23rd Mar 2018

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 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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, 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,"'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.'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.

Trump keeps EU leaders waiting on tariffs

European leaders postponed their reaction to US announcement that the EU would be exempted from tariffs on steel and aluminium. "The devil is often in the details", said the Belgian PM.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  2. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica
  3. Russian diplomats risk EU expulsions over UK attack
  4. Three presidents should attend Bosnia memorial
  5. Trump keeps EU leaders waiting on tariffs
  6. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  7. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  8. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit