Golf Course at Cap Cana
Golf Course at Donald Trump’s project in the Dominican Republic
(disclaimer: probably not a recipient of EU subsidies)
(photo source)

Financial Times reported on the findings of the European Court of Auditors that found EU aid for the poor had been misspent on golf clubs. Around 4 billion euros or at least 12% assigned to the European Union’s poorer regions were not properly accounted for last year, with some funds earmarked for agriculture ending up in the coffers of golf and riding clubs and railway companies.

The auditors identified unsatisfactory procedures in aid projects in England’s Merseyside, the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France, the southern Italian region of Campania and Valencia in eastern Spain, as well as in Poland and Slovenia.

Thankfully (?), suspected fraud cases were rare with only four out of hundreds of investigated cases handed over to the anti-fraud office and only two of those being pursued further. Apparently, according to Hubert Weber, the court’s President, the usual reasons for error are due to neglect, poor knowledge of the often complex rules and… presumed attempts to defraud the EU budget.

The court said one effect of the EU’s switch from production-based subsidies to direct payments was to redistribute aid from farmers to landowners, some of whom performed no agricultural activities at all. Among the new beneficiaries are English railway companies, German and Swedish horse riding and breeding clubs, and golf clubs, leisure facilities and city councils in Denmark and England, the auditors said.

If we can secure some funds for Lipica, somebody please make sure they are spent on the horses and not the golf course? 😉