Sunday

21st Apr 2019

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Governments could face legal action from the commission if they do not publish the information.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

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us