EU farm aid squandered on golf clubs

EU, European Court of Auditors

farm subsidies to golf courses, horse-breeding businesses and railroad companies
are among the inadvertent result of reforms to EU’s Common Agricultural Policy,
designed to modernise the trading bloc’s agricultural support policy,
highlighted in an official audit of the EU’s €106.6bn (?75bn) budget for 2006.

Court of Auditors
has refused to sign off on the EU’s overall accounts,
because of deficiencies in bookkeeping. They found at least 12%, or about
€3.9bn, of the EU’s €32.4bn regional aid programme, had been misspent.

Auditors noted a big jump in the number beneficiaries to whom direct aid was
paid – up 55,597 in Germany, to 386,237 over the 12 months to 2005. In England,
the rise was 46,469 to 116,500.

‘The court has also noted among them railway companies (England), horse
riding/breeding clubs (Germany and Sweden) and golf/leisure clubs and city
councils (Denmark and England),’ the document stated.

Because of the switch from production-based subsidies to direct payments, the
payments will be redistributed to landowners – not farmers – who will see the
value of their entitlements multiplied by four in Denmark and Germany and
tenfold in England, the court predicts.

Further reading:

EU accounts fail 13th successive test

Andreasen slams EC ‘mafia’

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