The European Commission is to claw back EUR410m (US$643.9m) in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) overpayments.

Italy, Greece and the UK are heading a list of audit trail gaps with the Italians facing having to give back EUR145m for failing to check land eligible for EU subsidies.

Greece faces a bill of EUR127m after falling behind with high-tech monitoring systems and simple crop checking on the ground.

The UK is being tapped for EUR69m for arable overpayments arising from inaccuracies in determining areas eligible for payments.

As well as being the EU's single biggest policy, with a cost of EUR49bn in 2005, the CAP is also the only pan-European policy overseen centrally from Brussels.

While member states administer the daily running of the CAP, if the Commission decides that they have "unduly" spent money, the sums involved are called in by the Commission for the EU budget.