The European Court of Auditors has today called for future spending under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to be based on ambitious and relevant performance targets while also fully respecting the legality and regularity requirements. Funds also need to be spent where they can achieve significant EU added value, say the auditors.
The call comes in a briefing paper on the future of the CAP, in response to the European Commission’s Communication on the future of food and farming after 2020. The CAP is currently under review, as the current seven-year planning period for EU finances ends in 2020.
Some CAP measures have unclear objectives, say the auditors. For example, the objective of the greening measure introduced with the last CAP reform – to enhance the CAP’s environmental performance – lacked specific targets for the measure’s contribution to the environment and climate. Objectives should be quantified where possible, not just for outputs, but also for results and impact.
“Agricultural funding may be allocated where it is likely to be fully spent, rather than where it is addresses key needs and produces results”, said João Figueiredo, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the briefing paper. “This reflects a culture of spending rather than a culture of performance.”