The European Court of Auditors has severely criticised the European Commission for its administration of the £1.4bn olive oil subsidies given out under the Common Agricultural Policy. Two years into a three-year transition period for the olive oil budget ­ and with reform proposals promised for later this year ­ the warning comes as a timely reminder to any Commission staff not already on holiday. Member state governments have not been successful in recovering wrongly paid aid, either, even when courts have ruled in their favour. In Italian cases, the appeals process can be spun out for 10 years. The Court of Auditors is urging the Commission to focus on controlling 11,000 mills rather than 2,2m olive oil producers. {{PROVISIONS }}