Statement by Jan Kinšt, Member of the European Court of Auditors, on food-processing subsidies
On 10 April 2013, Jan Kinšt, Member of the European Court of Auditors, answered questions on the Court's Special Report No 1/2013 "Has the EU support to the food-processing industry been effective and efficient in adding value to agricultural products?".
Under the Common Agricultural Policy, EU rural development policy grants are made available to enterprises that process and market agricultural products through a measure called "Adding value to agricultural and forestry products" that aims to improve the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry. The EU budget has earmarked 5.6 billion euro in aid for 2007-2013. This financing is complemented by national spending, which brings the total public funding to 9.0 billion euro.
Member States must draw up Rural Development Programmes, tailoring the aid to their needs through national or regional objectives and setting the scope of the measure to ensure that efficient use is made of the funding. However, the auditors found that only general objectives were set, which did not demonstrate how the funding was intended to add value to agricultural products or improve the competitiveness of agriculture. Despite this lack of targeting, the Commission approved the programmes. The audit covered six national and regional rural development programmes, selected mainly for their size: Spain (Castilla y León), France, Italy (Lazio), Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
EU auditors found that Member States do not direct the funding to projects for which there is a demonstrable need for public support. Without this, the measure becomes a general subsidy to enterprises investing in food-processing – with the attendant risks of distortion of competition and waste of scarce public money. SHOTLISTLINK
Type: Report Reference: I-077260 Date: 10/04/2013 Duration: 04:21Location:Brussels - International Press Centre Languages:ORIGINAL,