Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
BRUSSELS

EC orders Italy to begin collecting back fines on milk

English
© ANSA

Brussels, July 17 - The European Commission ordered
Italy Wednesday to start collecting fines that may be worth more
than 1.4 billion euros on milk producers and have been
accumulating for more than a decade.
The EC, which has been pressuring Italy to meet its trade
commitments, has claimed that Italian dairy farmers have
exceeded European production quotas.
The EC claims that between 1995 and 2009, Italian farmers
committed quota violations worth an estimated 1.42 billion euros
in fines that are still largely uncollected.
The EC also accuses Italy of still having no measures in
place to collect fines from farmers who exceeded their quotas,
despite the EC's repeated requests.
Sums due must be directed to state coffers to prevent
Italian taxpayers from shouldering the consequences, the EC has
said, equating the fines with an illegal government subsidy.
It is time for Italian authorities to take action "to
recover the incompatible aid plus interest due," the EC said
Wednesday.
An Italian law that approved deferred payment on milk
produced between 1995 and 2002 was rejected by the EC.
Such deferrals give producers government "aid equivalent to
an interest-free loan that no provision in competition may
justify".
The EC has also warned that stricter Italian enforcement of
EC penalties is important to prevent unfair competition for
other European and Italian dairy farmers who respected their
quotas or paid fines.
The European milk-quota system was instituted in 1984, when
EU predecessor the European Economic Community (EEC) decided to
control milk production in order to reduce inventory and
stockpiling costs due to surplus production.
The high cost of warehousing surplus butter and powdered
milk weighed particularly on central and northern European
partners in the EEC.
The European Council of Ministers has determined that the
milk-quota-system will end in 2015.

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