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NL: Minister of Agriculture aims to not repay CAP millions

The European Commission is demanding that the Netherlands repay more than 50 million euros in unduly paid GMO subsidies, European CAP money. This is money that growers received from the now bankrupt growers association FresQ. Last month, the Financieele Dagblad reported that the Netherlands refuses to repay the money.

In response to parliamentary questions from the Groep van Haga and Volt, agriculture minister Staghouwer denies this. He does not want to speak of refusal and writes that he is committed to 'fully charge the fund' with the millions. This means that the Netherlands will not pay for the costs.

Staghouwer points to the main rule that if recovery has not taken place after eight years, 50% of the expenditure will be borne by the EU and 50% by the Member State.

In case of bankruptcy of the beneficiary and if the
Member State can demonstrate that it has done everything possible to recover the amount, the Member State may charge the entire expenditure to the fund. That is what Staghouwer is aiming for.

It is also possible for the member state to bear the full cost of the expenditure if the European Commission finds that the member state has wrongly halted recovery (due to bankruptcy), or if there have been irregularities or negligence on the part of the member state which means that the failure to recover is attributable to the member state. The European Commission must still take a decision on the financial consequences, which can then be appealed to the European Court of Justice.

Future CMO
Despite this case, Staghouwer sees no reason for entrepreneurs to stop applying for GMO subsidies. He refers to the periodic sessions that the National Office for Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands (RVO) organizes for producer organizations that want to apply for subsidies.
want to apply for subsidies. With these sessions the RVO tries to familiarise producer organizations with the conditions that apply to the GMO subsidies and to hear from them what they are up against. "If a subsidy applicant complies with the subsidy conditions, there is no reason to be reticent in applying for subsidies."

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