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Agea-Cee Convention: EU denies judgment on national agreement

European Commission reply the question by Ignazio Corrao

EFA News publishes in full the written answer of Janusz Wojciechowski on behalf of the European Commission. (8.2.2021)

The commission cannot express an opinion on an internal national convention and its impact on freelancers operating outside the structures of paying agencies. In line with the principles of shared management and subsidiarity, the EU provides a horizontal legislative framework on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy (CAP). This framework contains, inter alia, provisions relating to paying agencies and other bodies that must be recognized by the competent authorities of the member states in accordance with the conditions for recognition established by EU legislation.

However, it is up to the member states to set up the system of paying agencies and to ensure its effectiveness and correct functioning, including with regard to the IT infrastructure needed to manage it. However, the scheme for payments to beneficiaries is subject to commission audits aimed at verifying that member states are managing the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (Feaga) correctly, preventing irregularities and, if necessary, recovering undue payments.

Question with request for written answer by Ignazio Corrao to the committee. (9.12.2020)

Subject: the agreement between Agea and agricultural assistance centers which excludes professionals and does not guarantee transparency.

The 2020 convention scheme between the agency for agricultural disbursements (Agea) and the agricultural assistance centers (Caa) provides for the exclusion of all self-employed professionals from accessing the national agricultural information service (Sian). Access to the Sian to present the practices will remain the prerogative of the CAAs and will be prevented for professionals, unless they are employees of the CAAs themselves. This, according to data from the national agrotechnical college, will mean that around 2500 freelancers who collaborate with the CAAs will be forced to close their studies and stop working. Furthermore, despite what was reported by Minister Bellanova to Parliament, greater transparency is in no way guaranteed, considering that in the various events that emerged in the past on European funds stolen from agriculture, it was the CAAs that fueled these scams.

The same national college of agricultural technicians believes that this system affects self-employment and benefits those who already work within the CAA, but without guaranteeing the necessary transparency in accessing the Sian.

Can the commission clarify: whether it is aware of this decision; how it assesses this agreement scheme and its negative impact on professionals; what measures have been introduced into European law following the aforementioned question to avoid the repetition of these scams?

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EFA News - European Food Agency