The European Commission does not currently have enough information to adequately assess whether cross-compliance rules under the Common Agricultural Policy are effective, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. The auditors found that performance indicators gave only a partial view, procedures remained complex and the Commission had no reliable cost estimate.
Cross-compliance links agricultural subsidy payments to the environmental and other rules farmers have to follow. The auditors examined whether cross-compliance management and control systems were effective and whether they could be further simplified. They carried out two surveys among Paying Agencies and Farm Advisory Bodies and visited three Member States – Germany (Schleswig-Holstein), Spain (Catalonia) and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland).
They concluded that the information available did not allow the Commission to adequately assess the effectiveness of cross-compliance. Despite changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014–2020, cross-compliance management and control systems could still be simplified, they said.
“7.5 million farmers are subject to the cross-compliance rules”, said Mr Nikolaos Milionis, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “But the Commission currently cannot be sure whether the system is contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture in the EU.”