Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Agricultural Support System failure

The European Court of Auditors, is like many aspects of the EU made up largely of decent men and women trying to do a decent job.

However they, like so many here in Luxembourg and in Strasbourg are hamstrung by having to play the game, not rock the boat and generally make politics out of raw data. This is not what they should be doing of course given that they are auditors and they should, by all reason be providing clear, clean and transparent reports.

Today's report on the Agricultural support schemes within the CAP is a classic of its kind - following as it does this years annual CoA report on the General Budget. It is called in that special language, Commissionese, "Special Report No 8/2008 (pursuant to Article 248(4), second subparagraph, EC) Is cross compliance an effective policy?"

Here is a list of the chapter headings,

Audit Scope and Approach:

The audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of cross compliance


The objectives and the scope of cross compliance
The objectives are not defined in a “SMART” manner
The scope of cross compliance is not well defined
Only limited results can be expected at farm level
Implementation of the legal framework
The Member States implemented requirements and standards only partially
The SMRs farmers must comply with are numerous and complex
The framework for GAEC is restricted
More Commission guidance and control on requirements and standards was needed
Cross compliance and rural development
Certain key elements of the rural development control and sanction systems are weakened by the introduction of cross compliance
The separation between cross compliance and agri-environment measures is not always clear

The control and sanction systems

The control system provides insufficient assurance on farmers’ compliance
The sanction system is weak and the resulting reductions in direct payments are low

Monitoring and reporting

Data in some areas is not reliable and overestimates control and compliance rates
The Commission’s performance monitoring was found wanting

As you can see all pretty damning stuff.

But the Commission response is a paradigm of Euro think, if it don't work, apply more of the same,
Cross compliance has certainly contributed to a better respect of the relevant environment, food safety, health, and animal welfare Directives and Regulations.

However the Commission aknowledges (sic) that the effectiveness of cross compliance could be further improved and sees the best way to achieve this in pursuing and reinforcing the efforts already initiated.
That is it, "Reinforcing the efforts already initiated". No you don't get it. The system isn't working and billions of pounds of other people's money is being wasted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On what grounds can you say that the European Court of Auditors is "..hamstrung by having to play the game, not rock the boat and generally make politics..."?

Professional and pretty damned uncompromising in the consistency of its opinions, the European Court of Auditors remains one of the best checks and balances you could get on the way taxpayers' money is spent in the EU.