The Swedish authorities became aware of the inaccuracies after an audit carried out by the European Commission in 2007. The audit showed that the inventory of arable and pasture land was inaccurate in about 70% of cases.
It is believed that the majority of the erroneous subsidies are due to inaccuracies in the acreage database. But in some cases there may be fraudulent applications involved, according to Birgitta Ek of the Agricultural Board.
“I am not ruling out the possibility of some farmers being sued,” she said to Swedish news agency TT.
The majority of the subsidies for this year will be paid out by the EU next week. About 71,000 Swedish farmers share more than 800 million US dollars. How many farmers will be asked to pay back money to the EU is not yet known.