Meeting on January 17, representatives of the fifteen EU Member States on the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) examined - and in certain cases criticised - a proposal for a Council Regulation tabled on November 15, 1999 to improve the Community system for monitoring aid provided under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This system, dubbed the integrated management and control system (IMCS), was introduced in 1992 by Regulation No 3508/92. It led to improvements in the application of rules regarding Community aid, acting as a disincentive to fraud and reducing risks linked to agricultural expenditure under the Guarantee section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). Certain delegations voiced reservations over the compulsory application of the new system, the lack of details on ensuring the IMCS is compatible with national systems, and the absence of co-funding for the implementation of what is an extremely technical Regulation.The Commission proposes to extend the scope of the IMCS to other aid regimes, taking account of the reform of the CAP adopted in Agenda 2000. The Member States will be required to design their own application systems for surface aid regimes to ensure they are compatible with the principal elements of the IMCS. Finally, the new Regulation provides new technical procedures regarding field identification and the submission of aid requests. Uniform application of controls and sanctions is envisaged in the context of Community aid regimes covered by the IMCS, with a view to preventing disparities and distortions of competition between countries. The field identification system will be improved through the use of geographical information and digital orthophotography techniques (airborne and space photography), speeding up administrative controls, reducing or even eliminating errors, and cutting administrative costs.--The Commission has no intention of co-funding the cost of geographical information and digital orthophotography technologies incurred by the Member States and estimated at some Euro 118.8 million. This sum corresponds to Euro...

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