Ensuring the correct payment of CAP funds

All EU expenditure under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are subject to strict controls and transparency requirements. These requirements are in place to ensure that taxpayer’s money is protected from fraudulent activity and is only spent in the ways laid out by law.

Checks on beneficiaries

A rigorous system of checks is maintained to ensure that funds are delivered only to the intended beneficiaries and in the correct amounts.

Under the shared management principle, the EU countries directly distribute most EU funds of the CAP, and are the first line of defence against misspending. EU rules require EU countries to have adequate systems in place to protect against fraud or incorrect payment. The EU also mandates the use of the single integrated administration and control system (IACS), to track payments and check claims.

Clearance of accounts

The EU has the responsibility to ensure that EU countries are obeying its funding rules. This is done through the clearance of accounts audit procedure, involving checks undertaken by both the European Commission and EU countries.

European Court of Auditors

The European Court of Auditors is tasked with checking spending made by the EU and its EU countries. It conducts regular audits of EU funding mechanisms and spending to make sure that money is spent as it should be and that the EU’s internal systems of control are correctly designed.

Anti-fraud policy

In order to better protect the budget of the CAP against fraud, the European Commission has put in place a specific anti-fraud policy.

The anti-fraud policy's main objectives are to

  • raise fraud awareness in EU countries and within the Commission
  • reinforce fraud prevention
  • reinforce fraud risk assessment
  • develop fraud detection capabilities
  • give guidance to EU countries for fraud prevention and detection
  • reinforce cooperation with the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)

The anti-fraud strategy underpins the principles of sound financial management and good governance of the CAP budget by the EU countries and the European Commission.

OLAF

OLAF is the EU’s anti-fraud body; it has the power to investigate any suspected instances of fraud, corruption or serious misconduct within either the EU institutions or beneficiaries of EU funds. Reports to OLAF can be made anonymously and in any of the EU’s official languages.

List of funding recipients

Anyone who receives EU funding under the CAP is included on a publicly available list. This list is designed to promote transparency and trust in EU funding measures. However, the rules still need to strike a balance between the rights of the public to know how their money has been spent and the rights of individuals to protect their personal data. The data is therefore limited in its scope and only available for a set period.

Under the rules, EU countries will publish the details of CAP payments beneficiaries. This publication shall contain

  • the name of the beneficiary. Exceptions, however, are made for recipients of very small payments, the thresholds of which are set by EU countries
  • the municipality where the beneficiary is resident or is registered
  • the breakdown of the amounts of payments for each individual measure, as well as the sum of the those amounts received by each beneficiary in the financial year
  • a description of the measures financed by the funds, including the nature and the objective of each measure

For funding from the European agricultural fund rural for development (EAFRD), the amounts published include both the money received from EU funds and from the EU country. This means that the reported amount reflects the total amount of public expenditure on the project.

This information is made available by the EU countries themselves and will be published all on one website. It is available from the 31 May of the year after the payments were made. This information will be publicly available for two years after its publication.

Related information

Beneficiaries of CAP payments

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Legal basis

EU implementing regulation 908/2014 lays down rules for the application of EU regulation 1306/2013 with regard to paying agencies and other bodies, financial management, clearance of accounts, rules on checks, securities and transparency.