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Home page > Research Topics > Trade Policy > Agriculture > CAP Research Programme

Research Programme « CAP Efficiency, equity and transparency »
[FR]

What follows provides a brief history of the legal actions for getting a transparent and adequate information on farm subsidies in France :

Summer 2005
Field inquiries in collaboration with Confédération paysanne, second French farm trade union (19.6% of the farmers' January 2007 election) in order to estimate the subsidies granted to French large farms (and farmers).

August 19, 2005
Letters were sent by GEM to the 30 main Directions Départementales de l’Agriculture et de la Forêt (DDAF, Departmental units of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing) requesting:
1) the global amount of subsidies received by farm for the latest available year, and
2) the “historical references” communicated in October 2005 by the DDAF to each farm (these references are the basis for computing the Single Farm Payments).
GEM request specified that data on an anonymous basis would be accepted.

September 27, 2005
After having received negative replies from 8 DDAF, GEM launched a procedure to Commission d'accès aux documents administratifs (CADA *).

November 9, 2005
The European Commission adopted the European Transparency Initiative.

November 22, 2005
The French magazine “Capital” launched a procedure to CADA in order to obtain the names of the 100 largest beneficiaries of European farm subsidies. They obtained, in October 2005, a list of the 35 largest beneficiaries of European farm subsidies paid by ONIC (the French disbursement agency for crop), and a list of the 10 largest beneficiaries of European farm subsidies paid by OFIVAL (the French disbursement agency for livestock). These amounts were communicated to the magazine on an anonymous basis by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

January 23, 2006
CADA (Council of December 1, 2005) replied to GEM request:
1) negatively concerning the release of the global amount received by farm, since a database centralizing the different sources of the global amount paid to each farm does not exist,
2) positively concerning the release of data concerning the estimated historical references, but without specifying any anonymous basis obligation.

January 24, 2006
CADA (Council of January 19, 2006) replied positively to the Capital Magazine request on the disclosure of the beneficiaries associated to each of the 45 amounts previously communicated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

February 1, 2006
GEM required exhaustive and nominative lists of subsidies by farm, for the last year available from the four major disbursement agencies: ONIC-ONIOL-FIRS (main crops) OFIVAL (livestock) ONIVINS (wine) and ONIFLHOR (vegetables).

March 17, 2006
GEM published identity of the top 10 French recipients of direct subsidies for crop and the top 10 French recipients of direct subsidies for livestock (20 farms having received 8.7 million euros in 2004).

March 21, 2006
Invitation of Patrick Messerlin and Pierre Boulanger by Member of European Parliament (MEP) Terry Wynn (Chairman of the Land use and food policy Intergroup (LUFPIG) ) to an informal hearing by LUFPIG MEPs concerning the transparency researches and initiatives taken in France by GEM.

March 24, 2006
GEM received the exhaustive list of the 54,080 estimated historical references, on an anonymous basis for 8 “departements” (representing more than 718 million euros). A meeting with a member of the Cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture ended up with the understanding that data for the whole French territory would follow soon.

April 13, 2006
As no French disbursement agency answered to the previous requests, GEM launched a new procedure to CADA.

May 3, 2006
The European Commission adopted the Green Paper on the European Transparency Initiative.

June 22, 2006
CADA (CADA Council of June 15, 2006) replied negatively to the GEM's latter request on the basis that such data do not exist and that the compilation of such data would require more than a common data processing.

July 17, 2006
Pierre Boulanger and Patrick Messerlin presented in Brussels the GEM transparency activities in France at a “Transparency in the CAP” public Event organized by Farmsubsidy.org. Some members of the farmsubsidy.org network presented the initiatives in other European countries (Germany, Poland, Denmark and current EU position). Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President, and Mariann Fischer Boel, Agriculture Commissioner, pledged their support for more transparency in the CAP and applauded the work done by the farmsubsidy.org network.

August 25, 2006
GEM provided his contribution to the Green Paper on the European Transparency Initiative.

October 16, 2006
GEM required identities of the 104 beneficiaries of export subsidies for dairy products paid in 2004 by ONILAIT (in November 2005, GEM obtained the exhaustive but anonymous list of such beneficiaries).

November 8, 2006
European Commission website centralized Member State websites providing information on beneficiaries of CAP payments under shared management.

November 20, 2006
As ONILAIT did not answer to the previous request, GEM launched a procedure to CADA.

December 22, 2006
CADA (CADA Council of December 21, 2006) replied negatively to GEM’s request on the basis that in spite of the existence of such data, the divulgation of these information is not consistent with the respect of industrial and trading secrecy.

January 26, 2007
Pierre Boulanger presented in Budapest the statement of transparency in France at a conference bringing together participants and supporters of the Farmsubsidy.org network.

March 21, 2007
The European Commission published the results of the 'European Transparency Initiative'
Consultation and adopted a communication which establishes the follow up of the process. The European Commission also adopted a proposal for the Council amending Regulation on the Financing of the CAP in order to oblige Member States to release beneficiaries of EU funds.

October 22-23, 2007
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the EU agreed on a draft Regulation amending the current Regulation on the financing of the CAP. It includes a compulsory ex-post publication of all recipients of community funds paid under the CAP. The transparency will cover expenses from October 16, 2007 for the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF in charge of market measures and direct payments) and from July 1, 2007 for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD in charge of rural development measures). Member States will be responsible for such publication.

November 26, 2007
The Council of the EU adopted the Regulation (EC) 1437/2007 amending the Regulation (EC)1290/2005 on the financing of the CAP. The Member States shall ensure ex-post publication of the EAGF and EAFRD recipients and the amount received per beneficiary under each of these Funds. The publication shall contain at least:
1) for the EAGF, the amount in direct payments and other expenditure incurred from October 16, 2007,
2) for the EAFRD, the total amount of public founding per beneficiary incurred from January 1, 2007.

March 18, 2008
The European Commission adopted the Regulation (EC) 259/2008 laying down rules for the publication of information on the beneficiaries from the CAP. Data shall be published, on a website set up by each Member State, by April 30 each year for the previous financial year. Therefore all CAP recipients during the 2008 financial year shall be disclosed by April 2009. Publication shall include at least the name, the municipality and where available the postal code, the amount of (i) direct payments, (ii) other payments from the EAGF, and (iii) the amount of public funding from the EAFRD which includes both the Community and the national contribution. The Commission shall set up a website which includes links to Member States' websites.

September 30, 2008
The French governmental website released individual and nominative European amounts of aggregated development measures (Second Pillar of the CAP).


April 30, 2009
The French governmental website released individual and nominative European amounts of market measures and direct payments (First Pillar of the CAP).

November 9, 2010
A judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union has declared partially invalid the legal basis for the publication of information on beneficiaries of CAP payments under shared management. French website providing information on beneficiaries of CAP payments has been suspended.

Summer 2011
The French governmental website released individual and nominative European amounts of first and second pillars of the CAP measures.

*Commission d'Accès aux Documents Administratifs (CADA)

The Law of 17 July 1978 gives everyone the right of access to documents that have been in the possession of public bodies (see www.cada.fr/uk/frame.htm). It guarantees the right of everyone, without condition of age or nationality, to access all administrative documents freely and free of charge. The only documents which are excluded are those which contain confidential information, such as national defence secrecy or information about a person's private life.

The Committee of Access to Administrative Documents (CADA) is an independent administrative authority in charge of ensuring the freedom of access to administrative documents. The CADA is not a jurisdiction (see www.cada.fr):
1) it give opinions on the communicable character of administrative documents that it addresses to the people who seized it and to the administrations which refused the communication;
2) it cannot be seized to get directly a document;
3) it can intervene only after a previous denial by the requested administration;
4) it advises administrative bodies on the communicable character of the documents they hold or on how to communicate them to the public;
5) it intervenes for all the documents held by a State service, a local authority, a publicly-owned establishment or an organization in charge of the management of a public utility, whether this organization is public or private;
6) it must be seized before any appeal proceeding to the administrative court.

 

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