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EU agriculture subsidies worth billions of pounds under the CAP are being paid out to businesses and multinational corporations with little connection to traditional farming.

18 Jul 2009, Daily Telegraph 

 

The subsidies have included payments to Haribo, the sweet manufacturer, and Coca-Cola.

New information gathered by the researchers Farmsubsidy.org since May this year has shown that over 13 billion euros (£11 billion) - about a quarter of the £47.5 billion spent under the EU's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), is paid to big business and industry, not farmers.

The CAP consumes 42 per cent of the EU's budget at a annual cost to every citizen of £95, a bill of £380 a year for the average British family.

Ligabue, an Italian caterer, serving luxury cruise ships and airlines, received 148,000 euros of export subsidies in 2008 for the dairy and creamer sachets consumed by international travellers.

Haribo qualified for 332,000 euros in farming subsidies for the sugar used in its "gummy bears" produced in Germany.

In France, the EU country that benefits the most from farm subsidies, over 103 million euros every year boosts the profits of sugar manufacturers - companies that do not own any farms.

Groupe Doux, a French chicken processor, raises no poultry itself but pocketed 62.8 million euros.

In Britain, Tate & Lyle Europe benefited from the taxpayer to the tune of 134 million euros in 2007.

Arids Roma, a Spanish construction company, received 1.59 million euros for road-making materials under EU rural development budgets that are a growing part of the CAP.

Another Spanish construction company, Pasquina, also benefited for EU farm cash, getting1.13 million euros for an asphalt factory.

A report from the European Court of Auditors last December found that serious problems existed in the accounting for EU rural development projects worth £10 billion a year.

The data gathered by the campaign group Farmsubsidy.org has also found a significant shift in agriculture subsidies away from farmers to some of Europe's richest landowners, including the Royal family and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Queen and other European royals, as well as aristocrats, including the Duke of Westminster, have also shared in the payments.

The Queen qualified for £473,500 in farm aid in 2008 for Sandringham Farms, her 20,000-acre retreat and home to four generations of British monarchs since 1862.

The Duke of Westminster, Britain's third richest person with a fortune estimated at £6.5 billion, benefited from a public EU subsidy of £486,534. His Polish dairy businesses, Top Farms, benefited by more than 8 million euros in subsidies from 2006 to 2007.

Jack Thurston, a founder of Farmsubsidy.org, said that for the first time this year the EU's 27 governments have provided varying degrees of information on the beneficiaries of farm cash payments.

He is critical of the European Commission of failing to compile complicated and patchy data to give the public a clearer picture of how money is spent.

"The idea of publishing is that European people can have the information so debate about CAP and how it spends money is well-informed," he said.

 





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