2011 Farm Subsidy Data Harvest: Millionaires and Missing Money
For the third year running, an international group of journalists, transparency activists and computer programmers gathered in Brussels for three days to gather and analyse new government data on who got what from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
So far, data on just €15.4 billion in payments made in the 2010 financial year have been published by EU member states, much less than the estimated €55 billion that was spent. This is because of a recent backlash against budget transparency triggered by the European Union Court of Justice, which in November 2010 ruled that the EU rules requiring disclosure of payment data relating to ‘natural persons’ was a disproportionate violation of the right to personal privacy. In response, the European Commission ordered Member States to stop publishing data and in April 2011 issued an interim regulation requiring them only to publish data on payments to ‘legal persons’ (companies and partnerships).
Of the 27 member states, all but six have released at least some data. The six that have not yet met the 30 April deadline are Cyprus, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Slovenia and the UK. However among those that have released data, a large amount has been kept secret, from an estimated 98 per cent of all farm subsidy spending in Ireland to around 25 per cent spending in the Netherlands. Four countries, Denmark, Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic have previously provided complete data, though the Czech Republic has since withdrawn some of the data it had published. Only three countries appear committed to budget transparency in the CAP, and have proceeded with publication despite the European Union Court of Justice’s ruling.
The total number of recipients disclosed this year is 563,133, receiving between them €15.4 billion. This is down from around 8 million recipients in the previous year, indicating that the vast majority of CAP recipients have been considered to be ‘natural persons’ by the payment agencies responsible for releasing the data. Once the remaining countries release their data it is expected that total disclosure will be less than half of the total CAP budget. The European Transparency Initiative is no longer achieving its key objective of transparency in end beneficiaries of EU funds.
In the data released so far there are 1330 payments of more than €1 million. The top recipient is the state-owned bank in Romania, and the second a state-owned water company in Portugal. State-owned enterprises, ministries and regional governments dominate the list of top recipients, with payments listed to the Xunta de Galicia (€45 million) and the Czech Ministry of Agriculture (€32 million). It appears that Member States are not observing requirement to publish end beneficiaries of EU funds, and are listing intermediaries instead. The end beneficiaries remain unknown.
In common with past years, there is no explanation of why each payment was made. The EU law on transparency does not require it. This point remains a major shortcoming of the transparency system and leaves the public guessing as to the reasons for the expenditure of EU funds.
Jack Thurston, a London-based policy analyst and co-founder of farmsubsidy.org, said:
“I have been pushing for transparency in farm subsidies for almost a decade. This year, thanks to a very poor ruling from the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, secrecy is back with a vengeance. I hope this is just a temporary setback and that the Commission will bring forward a new, improved transparency rules so EU citizens can know how their money is being spent: who gets what and why. Besides helping citizens to understand EU farm policy, transparency is an important additional safeguard against waste, fraud and abuse. I congratulate the governments of Denmark, Hungary and Sweden for their commitment to full transparency and encourage other countries to follow their lead.”
Nils Mulvad, an Aarhus-based data journalist, co-founder of farmsubsidy.org said:
“It’s just crazy the way governments are trying to keep this information secret. But we’ve worked hard to overcome all their blocking tactics and have made the data obtained available for anyone who wants to use it for journalism and research and analysis. There’s a lot less data than in previous years but there are definitely good stories to be found.”
Table 1: Top 20 recipients, by size of payment
|Beneficiary Name||Amount €||Country|
|SC FONDUL DE GARANTARE A CREDITULUI RURAL - IFN SA||220,000,000||RO|
|EDIA - EMPRESA DE DESENVOLVIMENTO E INFRA-ESTRUTURAS DO ALQUEVA S.A.||103,070,334||PT|
|AZUCARERA EBRO S. L.||61,825,608||ES|
|XUNTA DE GALICIA||45,767,443||ES|
|JUNTA DE CASTILLA Y LEÓN||37,453,113||ES|
|VAS Lauku attīstības fonds||37,283,856||LV|
|A.O.P. F.IN.A.F. SOC. CONS. A R.L.||33,642,063||IT|
|JUNTA DE EXTREMADURA||29,332,681||ES|
|SYRAL IBERIA, S. A. U.||28,821,933||ES|
|Ministerstvo podohospodarstva a regionalneho rozvoja SR||27,976,186||SK|
|COPERATIE COFORTA U.A.||26,285,764||NL|
|INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO AGRARIO DE CASTILLA Y LEÓN||26,224,551||ES|
|LOGISTIEKE EN ADMINISTRATIEVE VEILINGASSOCIATIE||25,593,878||BE|
|D. G. FONDO ANDALUZ DE GARANTIA AGRARIA||24,918,858||ES|
|DIRECÇÃO GERAL DE AGRICULTURA E DESENVOLVIMENTO RURAL||21,430,218||PT|
|Raiffeisen-Hauptgenossenschaft Nord AG||19,503,752||DE|
|GRUPPO MEDITERRANEO SOCIETA’ COOPERATIVA AGRICOLA||17,927,959||IT|
|Landesbetrieb für Küstenschutz Nationalpark und Meeresschutz||17,590,000||DE|
Table 2: Top 20 recipients of direct payments, by size of payment
|Beneficiary Name||Amount €||Country|
|GESBA - EMPRESA DE GESTÃO DO SECTOR DA BANANA LDA||6,163,727||PT|
|Bólyi Mezogazdasági Termelo és Kereskedelmi Zrt.||5,612,800||HU|
|COMPLEJO AGRICOLA S. A.||3,906,850||ES|
|SC TCE 3 BRAZI SRL||3,667,365||RO|
|Agrar GmbH Gut Ferdinandshof||3,489,047||DE|
|Hortobágyi Természetvédelmi és Génmegorzo Nonprofit Kft.||3,483,362||HU|
|CONAGRICAN S. L.||3,294,268||ES|
|CUMBRES DE GRAN CANARIA Nº 412/05 S. A. T.||2,830,138||ES|
|DEHESA NORTE, S. A.( DENOSA )||2,764,439||ES|
|Dalmandi Mezogazdasági Zrt.||2,653,132||HU|
|Südzucker AG Mannheim-Ochsenfu||2,680,421||DE|
|AYUNTAMIENTO DE ALDEANUEVA DE LA VERA||2,559,553||ES|
|Agrarunternehmen Barnstädt eG||2,435,237||DE|
|Agrar-Produkte eG Spornitz||2,598,776||DE|
|Enyingi Agrár Zrt.||2,981,593||HU|
|HVG Hopfenverwertungsgenoss. e.G.||2,230,998||DE|
|KOMBINAT ROLNY KIETRZ Sp. z o.o.||2,086,371||PL|
|TOP FARMS G£UBCZYCE SP. Z O.O.||2,101,052||PL|
|S.C. COMCEREAL S.A.||2,461,893||RO|
Table 3: Overview of data disclosed by country
|Country||Total amount €||% of past year||Beneficiaries||% of past year|
|Latvia||307,426,678||100 - close to||12,892||18|
Notes to editors
Farm subsidies under the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) amount to approximately €55 billion a year, just over 40% of European Union’s annual budget, or an average of just under €100 a year for each EU citizen.
The aim of farmsubsidy.org is to obtain detailed data relating to payments and recipients of farm subsidies in every EU member state and make this data available in a way that is useful to European citizens. Farmsubsidy.org is a foundation-funded non-profit project run by a network of European journalists, researchers and activists.
Farmsubsidy.org make its databases available under the Open Database License, which means you are free to use, remix and republish the data but you are legally required to: Attribute your use of the database to us, and Share your changes back with everyone else. Attribution costs nothing, but means everything to us. It’s up to you how to do it, but here are some possible formulations:
Data provided by farmsubsidy.org or Official data collated by farmsubsidy.org
or Data source: farmsubsidy.org
A detailed overview of the data for 2011 and past years is here.
An XLS spreadsheet of the 1330 payments worth €1 million or more is here: