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

Research Programme « CAP Efficiency, equity and transparency »

Towards more transparency in France ?

By generating legitimacy, transparency helps to build better public policies. Systematic information on the beneficiaries of the CAP support schemes is needed for designing within the current Agenda [post 2013 CAP; 2014-2020 European budget review; institutional development] a CAP reform that will meet social, territorial and environmental constraints.

Pierre Boulanger (GEM research fellow), Jack Thurston (Farmsubsidy.org co-founder), Sim Kallas (European Commission Vice President), Mariann Fischer Boel (Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development), Brussels, July 17th, 2006


For the French beneficiaries of European agricultural funds: click here

For a brief history of the legal actions for getting a transparent and adequate information on farm subsidies in France, click here

« French Direct Payment Largest Recipients. La banane et les millionnaires», Farmsubsidy.org, May 4, 2010.

« Legal Framework applicable to Publication of Direct Farm Subsidies in France », GEM Policy Brief, May 2007.

« Contribution to the European Transparency Initiative Green Paper », GEM, August 2006.

« Les subventions européennes ont besoin de transparence ! », Telos-EU, 19 May 2006.

« Transparency victorious », GEM news release, March 17, 2006.


In 2005, GEM completed field inquiries in collaboration with Confédération Paysanne, second French farmer’s trade union (19.6% of the January 2007 agricultural election) in order to estimate the subsidies granted to some French large farms. Since then, GEM has started to nurture a vigorous campaign on more transparency in France. For public debate contributions, from broad opacity [La Tribune; November 3, 2005] to higher transparency [Le Parisien; May 28, 2009], click here.

It has been a founding member of the Farmsubsidy.org network which has brought together European journalists, analysts and campaigners. On December 1, 2005 first few available nominative data was centralized on the transparency project website. In the United States, such data were already published on line thanks to the activities of the Environmental Working Group.

Between August 2005 and November 2006, (i) 37 requests were made to the French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and units under its supervision and (ii) 13 procedures to the French Committee of Access to Administrative Documents (CADA ) were launched. Both for legal and political reasons, nominative and exhaustive divulgation of French farm subsidy data seemed inevitable while GEM produced a continuous flow of fresh information on farm subsidies by releasing tables on major beneficiaries from direct payments, irrigation subsidies and export refunds for dairy products.

The European Transparency Initiative adopted by the European Commission on November 9, 2005, led to the adoption of a European Transparency Initiative Green Paper to which GEM made a written contribution (see below). On March 21, 2007, the European Commission published the results of the European Transparency Initiative consultation. It adopted a communication which established 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.

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

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

On March 18, 2008, the European Commission adopted the Regulation (EC) 259/2008 laying down rules for the publication of information on the beneficiaries of farm subsidies. Data have to be published, on a website set up by each Member State, by April 30 each year for the previous financial year. Publication has to 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) public spending from the EAFRD which includes both the European and national contribution. The Commission has to set up a website which includes links to Member States' websites.

On September 30, 2008, a French governmental website released individual and nominative European amounts of aggregated rural development measures. On April 30, 2009, individual and nominative European amounts of market measures and direct payments were also published on the same French governmental website.

On 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. During Summer 2011, beneficiaries of CAP measures for the period of October 16, 2009 - October 15, 2010 have been released.



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