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Ireland owes the EU €1 million for an outstanding fruit and veg bill

And you thought Marks and Spencer’s was pricey…
Dec 19th 2014, 1:38 PM 9,858 35

IRELAND IS BEING singled out to pay back money to the EU for agricultural funds that were ‘unduly spent’.

Alongside Slovenia and Greece – Ireland is one of only three countries required to make repayments, under a so-called ‘clearance of accounts procedure’.

Ireland owes €1.06 million for deficiencies in inspections for payments to fruit and vegetables producers.

The EU calculated that a total of €102 million was unduly paid out under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to member states – which they now want back.

Whose fault?

In conditions laid out by the EU, member states are responsible for managing the majority of their own CAP payments.

This involves them declaring the correct amount of finance required – among other duties which include ensuring that claims by farmers within their own countries are correct.

The European Commission carries out more than 100 audits a year. In the process of doing so they are able to take back money if they feel that EU funding has not been spent correctly.

How bad are we?

In the broader picture – Ireland has not fared too badly. While we are one of only three countries being picked on, we are by no means the worst offender.

Ireland owes the EU €1.06 million for checks on fruit and vegetable producers. Specifically, there was a lack of “checks on compliance with recognition criteria.”

Slovenia got stung worse than Ireland, having to payback €8.7 million due to irregularities with sugar silos.

The biggest offenders were by far and away Greece, who owe a grand total of €92.86 million.

This comes from a number of different offences, although the biggest amount of correction was required to be paid in relation to ‘Area aid’ and more specifically “correction proposed for weaknesses in the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) and on-the-spot-checks” – for which they were required to pay €88.96 million.

Read: Like Dublin Bay prawns? Irish fishermen are allowed to catch more of them

Also: ECB to Ireland: We don’t have to answer to you

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Michael Sheils McNamee

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