Brussels demands money back

FRANCE, ITALY and Greece will have to pay back almost €90m between them to Brussels following the latest claw back of misspent funds.

“The money is to be recovered because of inadequate control procedures or non-compliance with EU rules on agricultural expenditure,” says the commission in a statement.

The main offender in this regular exercise is France.

Over €28m is being reclaimed for shortcomings in its on-the-spot checks for livestock premiums and inaccuracies in the database.

Another €23m is being collected for similar failures in the French-owned territory of Corsica, while Italy is being charged around €21m.

Greece is being made to hand back €16m, again for problems with livestock subsidies, but also for abusing fruit and vegetable support arrangements.

“The audit procedure is essential to control the spending of EU farm subsidies in the member states,” said EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler.

“As today‘s decision shows, the commission does not hesitate to recover misspent funds.”

In total it is reclaiming €144m from 12 member states.

The UK is having to hand back €1.8m of Brussels‘ subsidies for its failure to respect EU payment deadlines for farm subsidies.