Germany had dragged its feet in respecting an EU regulation requiring all member states to publish details of individual beneficiaries of generous European farm subsidies by late April, doing so only on Tuesday. However, the southern German state of Bavaria is flouting the regulation and has still not published details.
"Bavaria's decision is incomprehensible and I will now take steps to begin an infringement procedure," EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said in a statement.
"The legal situation is clear. Germany is obliged to publish the details of beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy for the whole country. Every other member state has done so."
German farmers have resisted pressure from Brussels for the data to be released, challenging the regulation in national courts on the grounds that it violates their privacy.
"We don't want to put information on the internet that possibly can't be put on the internet like that," said Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer in Munich on Tuesday.
But the EU dismissed such concerns.
"This is taxpayers' money, so it is very important that people know where it is being spent," Fischer Boel said. "Transparency should also improve the management of these funds by reinforcing public control of how the money is used."