Although the EU Financial Regulation that requires publication of all end beneficiaries of agriculture EU funds should have been implemented as of May 1, 2009, only a few countries have opened their books on this matter, said subsidy watchdog Farmsubsidy.org at a press conference.
In theory, the new rules on transparency should give citizens an excellent new tool to see how their tax-money is spent and to what purpose.
“In practice, we see a highly fragmented system that with a few exceptions is characterised by poor usability, failure to comply with the requirements of the regulations and in a few cases active defiance of the principles of open government and transparency,” UK-based Farmsubsidy.org
The watchdog evaluated all EU counties in disclosing their books and came up with tree level assessment, based on a traffic lights: red (bad implementation, clearly in breach of the regulations), orange (important deficiencies, likely to be in breach of the regulations) and green (good implementation, in compliance with the regulations).
Black is a designation reserved for the one country that has already announced it wishes to defy the regulations and has not implemented them at all.
The Commission maintains links to most of these websites at its website
Italian firms top beneficiaries
Of the big individual hand outs, some exceeding €100 million, in 2008, Italian firms took the top three places, according to Farmsubsidy.org.
Italian sugar group Italia Zuccheri received €139.8 million under the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy, while its rival Eridania Sadam was granted €125.3 million.
Banking group Banca Popolare Italiana, which has farming assets, was paid €96 million.
CAP payments eat up around 40% of the total EU budget of €49.8 billion.