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7th Dec 2019

Romania told to reform farm system or face aid cuts

  • If Romania does not improve its oversight over farm aid payments, its farmers could feel the pinch. (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Commission has threatened to cut agricultural subsidies to Romania, unless the country solves the shortcomings in its farm aid system.

Mariann Fischer Boel, the EU's agriculture commissioner, said on Wednesday (10 October) that Romania should overhaul its farm payment system or face a provisional 25% cut in EU funds - equal to more than a hundred million euros.

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The warning comes after two recent audits discovered several serious irregularities in the administration and financial control part of the payment system.

"Romania has made progress in setting up its administration and control systems, but has not yet done everything required to ensure that the system works properly," Mrs Fischer Boel said.

The fact that the Romanian software system in place does not sufficiently control payments and is unable to guarantee the prevention of fraud and misuse of funds is worrying Brussels.

The country has now been given a one month period to fix the problem. The country, which joined the EU in January, has the largest number of registered farm plots in the bloc and is already facing serious delays.

"Operations to check the registered farming acreage are delayed because of a lack of equipment. Public acquisitions are so slow, so we are in a huge delay," Romania's prime minister Calin Tariceanu said according to the International Herald Tribune.

But he promised the commission that Romania will put its house in order by the end of the month.

By contrast, Bulgaria, which joined the EU together with Romania in January, has set up a functioning system and does not risk losing farm funds.

Romania is budgeted to receive €4.3 billion in farm aid from 2008 to 2013.

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