European Commission not to apply safeguard mechanism on agriculturePublish date: 19-12-2007
Following rapid progress by the Romanian authorities in putting in place the necessary controls over agricultural spending, the European Commission today decided not to apply the so-called 'safeguard mechanism' in Romania, the European Commission informs.
In November, the Commission asked Romania to make further improvements to the software module designed to ensure that farm payments are made correctly, in order to avoid a provisional 25 percent cut in EU payments.
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, commented: 'I commend Romania for the rapid progress they have made in improving their control systems, which avoided a triggering of the safeguard. This mechanism has clearly helped in motivating Romania to improve the situation. I hope the remaining issues can be ironed out quickly, which will permit farmers to get their payments. We will remain very vigilant when we audit farm payments in both Romania and Bulgaria. Just as we do for all other Member States, we will not hesitate to claim back any misspent money.'
The decision not to use the safeguard does not imply that everything is perfect. As in all new systems, certain problems may only emerge when payments start. In addition, Romania still needs to increase its control rate and there are still some IT deficiencies to be solved.
The Commission will continue to monitor closely the situation and carry out controls in Romania early in 2008. It has the possibility of introducing the safeguard at any time if serious shortcomings are found. In addition, Romania will as all other Member States be subject to the normal audit procedures which are carried out in all Member States and which allow misspent money to be claimed back.
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