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Greece: Control Of Cap Expenditure

Volume 569: debated on Thursday 29 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether it is the case that the European Commission has attempted to justify to the European Court of Auditors the "complete lack of inspection visits" for the control of ewe premium paid in two Greek prefectures on the grounds of "localised bandit activity-, and if so, what sums are involved and what action do they propose to take.

I can confirm that the European Commission has said that no inspections were carried out in two Greek prefectures in 1991 for the reason stated. Under EC budgetary rules on the financing of the common agricultural policy, the Commission has the power to impose financial corrections when it cannot verify that expenditure in a member state has been carried out in compliance with Community rules. Costs arc not charged to the EC budget but fall to national exchequers. For 1991, the Commission made a correction of about £0.4 million on ewe premium payments in Greece due to inadequate controls on expenditure. In total, Greece was subject to financial corrections amounting to 10 per cent. of its total C.AP expenditure. Commission Decisions on the 1992 clearance of accounts are expected this year. I understand that they may include a correction of £0.6 million in respect of ewe premium expenditure because of inadequate controls and that the total correction for Greece could again he near 10 per cent. of its CAP expenditure.