23 April 1998
EU waste and fraud costs £3bn

FRAUD and mismanagement in the European Union is costing taxpayers £3 billion each year, with millions of pounds being spent subsidising non-existant olive growers in the Mediterrain, according to a report.

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, the UKs public spending watchdog, has urged Britain to use its EU presidency to introduce sweeping reforms to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

There is a high level of abuse in the £2bn subsidy given to the olive oil industry. As part of a crackdown, every olive oil tree in the EU must now be registered, at a total cost of £130m.

But one of the worst areas of mismanagement identified by Sir John, was the overpayment of £2.25bn in unnecessary compensation to arable and beef farmers.

The National Audit Office said CAP consumes almost half of the EUs £60bn annual spending. Cereal farmers benefitted the most, receiving £2.2bn in over compensation, while beef and veal farmers received an extra £500,000.

  • Spain warned over olive oil over-production, FWi, yesterday (22 April) — Click here
  • The Independent 23/04/98 page 1
  • The Times 23/04/98 page 12