Brussels, 16 June 2009
Transparency: Commission will start infringement procedure against Germany if Bavaria refuses to publish CAP beneficiaries
The European Commission today expressed its extreme disappointment that details of all beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy have not been fully published in Germany. Under EU law, details on all recipients had to be published on the internet by 30 th April 2009. The Federal Government announced that the data were finally published today online, but the state of Bavaria has decided not to publish. In these circumstances, the Commission has no choice but to start an infringement procedure against Germany.
"Bavaria's decision is incomprehensible and I will now take steps to begin an infringement procedure," said Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. "The legal situation is clear. Germany is obliged to publish the details of beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy for the whole country. Every other Member State has done so. This is taxpayers' money, so it is very important that people know where it is being spent. Transparency should also improve the management of these funds, by reinforcing public control of how the money is used. Only in this way can we guarantee an informed debate about the future of the CAP."
According to the Council Regulation on financing of the Common Agricultural Policy and the related Commission Regulation, each Member State shall publish on a website all CAP beneficiaries by name, municipality, amounts received (and the currency concerned) or a combination of these three criteria. Germany today published those details, but beneficiaries from the state of Bavaria were not included.
Member States have since September 2008 been required by EU law to publish details of recipients of money from the Rural Development Fund. Germany published this data, including for recipients from Bavaria.
Questions related to data protection were taken into consideration during the development of the transparency legislation. It requires Member States to inform the beneficiaries that their data will be made public and that they enjoy the rights accorded to them by EU data protection rules, thus ensuring that the system complies with the requirements of data protection.
The transparency rules were backed by the Council, and Germany itself voted in favour. EU regulations are directly applicable in all Member States, and the transparency rules are therefore binding in their entirety.
The EU has committed itself to full transparency about who receives monies from the EU budget. There will be annual ex-post publication of beneficiaries of money received from the Structural Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy, and the Commission publishes information on beneficiaries under the programmes it manages directly.