Following a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, Farmsubsidy.org, the pro-transparency group of journalists and activists, has issued a press release highlighting the implication of this ruling for the transparency of farm subsidy payments within the CAP.
The concerns come following the ruling that EU rules on transparency were ‘invalid’ due to concerns that publication of data on payments to private individuals (‘natural persons’) would violate their right to privacy. According to farmsubsidy.org some Member States are using a very broad definition of ‘natural person’ to keep as much data as possible from entering the public domain.
In a press release issued on May 9th, the group estimates that fewer than one in ten beneficiaries of EU farm subsidies were published this year. The total value of payments published is €22 billion, or 45 per cent of the annual CAP budget of €54 billion.
Three countries have published no data at all: Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg. Governments in four countries have designed systems specifically designed to thwart access to the data, which must be published under EU laws on financial transparency. These countries are Ireland, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
However, despite this lack of public information, and deliberate attempts to manipulate the figures, the organisation has managed to compile a list of 1,539 beneficiaries that receive more than €1 million. In total these large beneficiaries received €3.8 billion, or 7 percent of the entire CAP budget. This list is dominated by public bodies.
As Jack Thurston from the group points out, this information is vital to ensure against fraud and promote a better understanding among citizens of how the CAP works. “At at this moment when the future of the CAP is being decided, transparency is needed now more than ever.”
Find the full press release here