Four leading NGOs in the environmental sector have joined forces after detecting that certain farmers and ranchers with final criminal sentences for serious breaches of environmental regulations continue to receive CAP aid. This is a systemic fraud involving public funds due to a lax penalty regime and a lack of administrative coordination.
To be eligible for CAP support, farmers and ranchers must comply with a series of Legal Requirements and Good Agri-Environmental Conditions, known as enhanced cross-compliance. The Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture together with Fundación Global Nature, Fundación Oso Pardo and Fundación Naturaleza y Hombre, have joined forces to prevent systemic fraud in the allocation of these aids due to the lax penalty system and the lack of administrative coordination between the environmental prosecutor’s office and the CAP management bodies.
As an example, in an Autonomous Community in northern Spain, a bearded vulture from the LIFE Pro Bearded Vulture project was poisoned on a livestock farm, and that same year the owner of the farm received €42,000 in CAP subsidies.
To avoid this inconsistency, it is necessary to improve the CAP cross-compliance penalty system and to curb and detect these pockets of fraud. The four Foundations have requested the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to cross-reference the data of CAP applicants with that of the environmental prosecutor in order to comply with the reinforced cross-compliance.
The four foundations are working to raise awareness of this problem among public administrations and members of the community.