The European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report “Basic Payment Scheme for farmers – operationally on track, but limited impact on simplification, targeting and the convergence of aid levels” on Thursday 15 March 2018 at 11h30 in 23 EU languages.
The auditors examined whether the European Commission and Member States set the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) properly on track. In particular, they checked whether the Member States’ control systems mitigated the risk of incorrect payments, whether the Commission adequately supported and monitored the Member States, and whether the BPS contributed to simplification and was in line with CAP objectives. They carried out audit visits to Germany (Niedersachsen), Greece, Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom (England and Scotland).
The auditors are expected to acknowledge the BPS as an important source of farmers’ income, but also point to its limitations. They are expected to make a number of recommendations to the Commission concerning the current and future programming periods, including on the calculation and allocation of BPS entitlements, the role of certification bodies, analysis of farmers’ income and performance measurement.
The BPS is applied in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The remaining Member States, which joined the EU in 2004 or 2007, apply a similar but transitory scheme, the Single Area Payment Scheme.
The BPS aims to provide basic income support to farmers and contribute to viable food production in the EU without distorting production decisions. With an annual expenditure of around €18 billion granted to some four million farmers, it is the EU’s biggest income support scheme for farmers.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.