Answer given by Mrs Fischer Boel on behalf of the Commission
Under shared management, as in Rural Development, the Member State implements the relevant eligibility rules of the Council Regulation in accordance with its own tradition, policy and availability of funds as admitted by the subsidiarity principle.
This particular project was co-financed by the Rural Development Programme 2000‑06 for Denmark at a rate of 25 % from the EAGGF(1), 25 % as national contribution and 50 % as private contribution. The eligibility criteria as well as all other elements concerning the individual projects are verified by the Managing Authority of the programme which is the national body for evaluating, approving and liable for the approval of individual projects.
Article 33 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999(2) aims to diversify the activities, investments and recipients of subsidies in the rural areas. This policy addresses the diversification (be it agricultural or even economic) of farmers to enable them to dispose of several sources of income but it is also directed towards residents of rural areas who are not farming or processing agricultural production.
The fact that the beneficiary contributed to 50 % of the investment cost of the project indicates that he also must have seen an economic benefit from the project.
There is no indication that ineligible expenditure was made in this project, however the Commission will follow up this issue more in detail in the context of its regular control activities.