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Parliamentary questions
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30 July 2003


by Maurizio Turco (NI)

to the Commission

  Subject: New information concerning the refunds for agricultural products exported from the Member States to the Vatican City State

 Answer in writing 

It appears that, in reply to questions E-1477/03[1] to E-1480/03[2] on refunds for agricultural products exported from the Member States to the Vatican City State, Mr Fischler, Commissioner, stated on 21 May 2003 that the Commission was gathering the information it needed in order to be able to answer the questions and that it would pass on the results of its research as soon as possible.


Furthermore, following correspondence with the Italian State Customs Agency (which had been asked for the same information as was requested from the Commission), the questioner was told on 27 May that, unfortunately, not all the information requested was available, but from what was available it emerged that:


-  the average number of potential beneficiaries registered in 1989 was 32 600;

-  in 2001, on the basis of data received from the Rome Customs Office and cross-checked with information from the Vatican City, the Vatican imported  548 925 kg of meat and 288 351 kg of dairy products, whilst data supplied by theVatican for the same items indicated imports of 505 553 and 271 699 kg for 2001 and of 712 232 and 293 543 kg for 2000;

-  as regards exports from Italy to the Vatican, the Italian Customs system shows that Italy by itself exported:

(a) meat: 1998,  250 473 kg; 1999, 1 254 200 kg; 2000, 386 832 kg; 2001, 377 028 kg;

(b) sugar: 1998, 71 040 kg; 1999, 695 500 kg.


A comparison of the data for exports from Italy to the Vatican as ascertained by the Italian Customs System (Source: Datawarehouse - MERCE system) and by the CATS system reveals that, as regards meat imports from Italy, the Vatican:

-  imported 250 473 kg in 1998 without taking advantage of the Community aid available, thereby foregoing approximately EUR 169 000;

-  imported 1 254 200 kg in 1999 and applied for Community aid only in respect of 377 028 kg, thereby foregoing approximately EUR 556 000;

-  imported 377 028 kg in 2001 and applied for Community aid only in respect of 18 677.300 kg, thereby foregoing approximately EUR 240 000.


Will the Commission say:

-  what stage has been reached in the research being carried out in order to enable the above-mentioned questions to be answered?

-  what technical reasons justify foregoing Community aid?

-  whether or not it considers that the increasingly obvious shortfalls and discrepancies between the data from the various official sources pose a serious threat to the credibility of those sources, and that those shortfalls and discrepancies could stem from possible defrauding of the Community budget - or is the Commission already in a position to dismiss that possibility?



[1]  JO C

[2]  JO C

Original language of question: ITOJ C 78 E, 27/03/2004
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