Auditors raise concerns on CAP cross-compliance system

27 Oct 16

The European Commission cannot ensure the Common Agricultural Policy cross-compliance system is effective, the EU Court of Auditors has warned.

It said the commission lacked sufficient information to adequately assess this and performance indicators used gave only a partial view, while procedures were complex and the commission did not have reliable estimates of the system’s costs.

Cross-compliance links agricultural subsidy payments to environmental and other rules imposed on some 7.5 million farmers.

Auditors surveyed the agencies and advisory bodies involved and visited Schleswig-Holstein, Catalonia and Northern Ireland.

They concluded that too little information was available and the commission could not be sure that cross-compliance contributed as intended to promoting more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.

Indicators took no account of the level of non-compliance and the commission did not analyse the reasons for infringements or how to address them.

A further complication was that the new ‘greening’ payment meant there were now two sets of EU agricultural schemes designed to maintain land and protect biodiversity, which despite their similarities were checked under two control systems.

“This may lead to inefficiencies in control systems and additional bureaucracy,” the auditors said.

The ECA has also called for improvements in EU-wide systems for mapping farm fields eligible for subsidy.

In a report issued on 25 October, it said the Land Parcel Identification Systems still had weaknesses, although payment errors had reduced.

Aerial and satellite photographs were mostly up-to-date, but their interpretation was not always reliable, and there was only patchy inclusion of ownership and lease rights information.

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