The EC has vowed to recover €161.9 million of unduly spent CAP expenditure, following a decision adopted yesterday by the European Commission.
The money will be recovered because of inadequate control procedures or non-compliance with EU rules on agricultural expenditure.
Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.
"This is a vital process in ensuring that taxpayers' money is used properly and that all unduly spent amounts are recovered," said Mariann Fischer Boel, commissioner for agriculture and rural development.
"We have made enormous progress over recent years in improving controls and I am determined that these efforts will continue in the future."
Under this latest decision, the 22nd since the 1995 reform of the system for recovering unduly spent CAP money, funds will be recovered from Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
The most significant individual corrections are €77.13 million charged to France because direct aid was paid for ineligible land, and sanctions were not applied; and €33.36 million charged to Spain for the weaknesses concerning the key control on the management of production potential, i.e. the ban on vine planting without the prior award of replanting or new planting rights.
In addition, €9.41 million is being charged to Italy for incomplete checks on products withdrawn for destruction, late checks and insufficient rate of checks on accounting and documentation, insufficient checks on the quantity marketed, weaknesses in checks on product quality; no surveillance or verification of delegated controls.
Some €8.68 million is being charged to France for lack of checks on projects funded by means of soft loans, several deficiencies concerning the check of minimum standards and a lack of a specific aid exclusion or reduction regime.
Finally, €8.07 million is being charged to Greece for imprecise identification of parcels receiving aid, poor application of cross checks against the IACS systems, deficient on-the-spot controls of surfaces and of Good Farming Practices.