Saturday

19th Jan 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Governments could face legal action from the commission if they do not publish the information.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

Agenda

Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK

Germany and France are set to reinforce their alliance as the engine-house of European integration, while Britain continues to struggle to leave the EU.

Germany led way on EU human rights protection

Germany led the way on protection of human rights this year, but Hungary, Italy, and Poland "undermined the EU's moral standing" on the world stage, a leading NGO said.

Opinion

How to troll the European Parliament elections

The May 2019 European parliament elections will take place in a context which make a very promising ground for protest votes and extreme views, aided by bots and algorithms.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Agenda

Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK

Germany and France are set to reinforce their alliance as the engine-house of European integration, while Britain continues to struggle to leave the EU.

Opinion

How to troll the European Parliament elections

The May 2019 European parliament elections will take place in a context which make a very promising ground for protest votes and extreme views, aided by bots and algorithms.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU human rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us