Poor farm supervision incurs fines

Greece will have to return 105.5 million euros in agricultural subsidies to the European Agricultural Fund (FEOGA), the vast majority of which is for inadequate control of arable crops. The sum accounts for just over half the penalties assessed by the European Commission to 12 EU members, and announced yesterday. Italy will have to return 53.5 million euros and the Netherlands, 20.3 million. Only Austria, Denmark and Germany escaped fines. Using aerial photography and database records, the Commission and member states regularly monitor farmers’ claims for subsidies. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) costs about 40 billion euros a year and there have been calls for a total phasing out of subsidies to current EU members. The sum will not be paid immediately by the members; the Commission will withhold equivalent funds from the next round of CAP payments.

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