AGEA conflict of interest – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, questions to the European Parliament.

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AGEA director Gabriele Papa Pagliardini’s conflict of interest with Coldiretti’s magic circle-in the Federconsorzi 2 bandwagon, aka Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI) Spa- surfaces everywhere. Also in Brussels, thanks to two questions addressed by the European Parliament to the Commission.

Ignominy in silence

The ignominy revealed in the poison dossier, which finds confirmation in the chamber of commerce visas in the public domain, has been denounced repeatedly by Senator Xavier De Bonis and others of his colleagues. (2)

To the silence of the press and the slothfulness of politics is compounded by that of the Antitrust Authority, which has not yet intervened on the AGEA measure that distorts competition in favor of Coldiretti’s CAAs (Centers for Assistance in Agriculture), whose top executives are partners of Gabriele Papa Pagliardini himself in AgriRevi SpA. (3)

Federico Vecchioni, president of Bonifiche Ferraresi (BF) SpA, in turn refrains from providing clarification. Instead, except to threaten a priori journalists who dare to shed light on the murky affairs. (4)

AGEA – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, conflict of interest.

Conflict of interest of Director of Agea‘ is the title of the question proposed on 22.12.20 by MEPs Piernicola Pedicini, Ignazio Corrao and Rosa D’Amato (M5S, Greens-European Free Alliance political group) to the European Commission. (4)

‘The Agea (Agency for Disbursements in Agriculture) is the largest disbursing agency in Italy with responsibility for EU aid. As an investee agency, it must comply with the obligations of publicity, transparency and dissemination of information (Legislative Decree 33/13, Art. 10). As of December 2019, Gabriele Papa Pagliardini, director of Agea, appears to be a shareholder of AgriRevi Spa, Coldiretti’s audit and certification company, in open conflict with his institutional role.’ (4)

AGEA – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, distortion of competition.

Agea also presented a draft agreement with the agricultural assistance centers (AACs) that provides, as of March 31, 2021, for AAC operators to be employees of the same facilities. This will prevent 2,000 freelancers working with CAAs from working, lead to the closure of all CAAs using freelancers, and result in harm to farmers in unmanned territories.

Considered the possible existence of a conflict of interest on the part of the Director of Agea in relation to his role as a shareholder in AgriRevi, and having regard to the EU Financial Regulation (Article 57) and the Common Provisions Regulation (Article 5), can the Commission say by what means it intends to verify that the Italian Administration ascertains the existence of conflicts of interest that could have a negative impact on the disbursement of EU funds intended for agriculture‘. (4)

AGEA – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, unjustified exclusion of freelancers

The European Commission received a second question on the same subject on 23.12.20. (5) The ‘scheme of agreement between the Agricultural Disbursement Agency (AGEA) and the Agricultural Assistance Centers (CAA)‘ – reports MEP Nicola Procaccini, former mayor of Terracina – was signed in November 2019. Shortly before its petitioner Gabriele Papa Pagliarini formed AgriRevi SpA together with senior executives, managers and historical consultants of Coldiretti. And to a counselor of the Supreme Court.

The agreement between the Agricultural Disbursement Agency (AGEA) and the Agricultural Assistance Centers (CAAs) ‘excludes freelancers from access to the SIAN (National Agricultural Information Service), which is necessary to carry on the services they have excellently provided over the years, causing some 3,000 Italian professional workers to lose their livelihood.’ (5)

A question of law, among many

‘Since Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No. 1306/2013 (6) of the European Parliament and Council to date defines the requirements for the accreditation of paying agencies and does not directly mention the exclusion of freelancers from the system, the Commission is asked:

(1) whether it is aware of the difficulties this choice entails for self-employed professionals in the field not employed by CAAs, and

(2) whether there is a specific EU provision that would exclude freelancers from the National Agricultural Information Service, preventing them from working there.’ (5)

Public contributions, private interests. Abuse of office?

Government subsidies express at least 12 percent of Italian farmers’ incomes. (7) And they are set to increase, thanks in part to the Recovery Fund, now called #NextGenerationEU. (8) The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the first source of funding, accounts for one-third of the European budget.

The detour of disbursements in agriculture to a single channel, Coldiretti’s CAAs, constitutes, in the opinion of the writer, a violation of the applicable European rules, as already stated. (2) And this violation does obvious harm to both CAAs of other unions and independent ones, as well as to a plethora of freelancers. Abuse of office?

#FiatLux!

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia SpA, Federconsorzi 2? The Poison Dossier. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/consorzi-agrari-d-italia-spa-federconsorzi-2-il-dossier-dei-veleni

(2) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, Federconsorzi 2 and the director of AGEA. Senate Question. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 8.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/coldiretti-federconsorzi-2-e-il-direttore-di-agea-interrogazione-al-senato

(3) Dario Dongo. Consorzi Agrari d’Italia, Bonifiche Ferraresi and Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, the vase is full. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/consorzi-agrari-d-italia-bonifiche-ferraresi-e-filiera-agricola-italiana-spa-il-vaso-è-colmo

(4) Piernicola Pedicini (Greens/ALE), Ignazio Corrao (Greens/ALE), Rosa D’Amato (Greens/ALE), European Parliament. Question for written answer to the Commission (E-007034/2020). 22.12.20, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-007034_IT.html

(5) Nicola Procaccini (ECR), European Parliament. Question for written answer to the Commission (E-007048/2020). 12/23/20, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-007048_IT.html

(6) Reg. EU 1306/13, on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy. Consolidated text as of 12/29/20 at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?qid=1611995693658&uri=CELEX%3A32013R1306

(7) CREA. Farms in Italy, FADN 2020 report (2014-2017 period). See Figure 2C, revenue origin by year, page 17. https://www.crea.gov.it/documents/68457/0/Le_aziende_Agricole_in+Italy_Report_RICA_2020.pdf/bfe6a0c9-fa4e-3055-80be-8084c5008b11?t=1596542205488

(8) Dario Dongo, Silvia Giordanengo. EU Budget 2021-2027 and #NextGenerationEU, focus on rural development and CAP financing. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 3.12.20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/bilancio-ue-2021-2027-e-nextgenerationeu-focus-su-sviluppo-rurale-e-finanziamento-della-pac