Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

Farm subsidies open to public scrutiny

  • Governments must publish the names of farmers receiving EU subsidies under new transparency rules. (Photo: maraker)

EU governments have started publishing the projects for which EU farm subsidies have been paid out as well as the names and addresses of farmers receiving the funds, as part of reforms to the bloc’s common agricultural policy.

Under rules which came into effect on Monday (1 June), national agriculture ministries are tasked with publishing the names of beneficiaries, municipalities, and the amount of aid given, together with a description of the measures for which it was awarded.

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

  • Farming subsidies continue to account for around 35 percent of EU spending each year, with €56 billion in aid being paid out in 2014 under a variety of schemes. (Photo: European Commission)

The new regime was agreed by MEPs and ministers back in 2013 and will apply for the EU’s seven year budget framework between 2014 and 2020.

Farming subsidies continue to account for around 35 percent of EU spending each year, with €56 billion in aid being paid out in 2014 under a variety of schemes.

Portugal and Latvia have decided to disclose all payments above €500, while most other EU governments have set their threshold at €1250.

The UK’s National Trust, which manages large swathes of the countryside and a number of stately homes, was the largest recipient of aid, receiving just over £10 million (€13.9 million) in 2014, according to the UK rural affairs department.

Governments could face legal action from the commission if they do not publish the information.

"I hope that these new transparency rules will help the wider public better understand how the CAP is helping to address society's concerns,” said EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan.

The EU executive first began publishing the recipients and the amount of farm aid they received in 2008, but a 2010 ruling by the European Court of Justice stated that the CAP transparency rules infringed the principle of proportionality and lacked details on the nature of the aid received.

The new transparency regime is part of a “broader objective of the European Commission to improve and maintain a high level of transparency on how the EU budget is managed,” the commission said.

"It is laudable that the Commission has attempted to find a balance between the obvious public interest in knowing how public money is spent and the right to privacy of farmers," Brigitte Alfter, Europe editor of the Journalism Fund told this website.

"But the effect of the national thresholds remains to be seen," she added.

However, the implementation of the rules have already caused a backlash among the farming community. The leader of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Eddie Downey, complained that the regime was a breach of confidentiality and to the financial data of the farmers named.

MEPs can unpick EU farm subsidies deal

Agreement on EU farm subsidies remains far from clear, after the European Commission said the European Parliament could unpick the deal reached last week at the EU budget summit

Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot

Authorities in Budapest confirmed the former prime minister of Macedonia, fleeing a jail sentence in his own country, has filed for asylum. Despite Hungary's strict asylum laws, the pro-Kremlin politician was not turned away.

Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources

Romania's data protection authority is headed by Ancuta Gianina Opre, who in 2017 was charged with abuse of office in her previous job. Last week, she threatened a €20m fine against journalists in their effort to uncover corruption.

News in Brief

  1. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published
  2. UK cabinet agrees Brexit deal after marathon session
  3. Czechs join other EU states in rejecting UN migration pact
  4. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  5. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  6. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  7. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  8. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

Opinion

Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?

Few people commented on one key point in Macron's statement: he did not justify the idea of a European army by the need to intervene in Africa, which would have been France's traditional approach. Instead, he invoked the Russian threat,

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  2. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  3. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  4. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  5. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  6. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  7. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  8. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us