Agriculture: European Commission refers ITALY to the Court of Justice for failure to recover milk levies due from Italian producers
The European Commission decided today to refer Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to meet its responsibilities adequately with regard to managing the recovery of the levy for overproduction of milk. This levy should be paid by individual producers having exceeded their individual dairy quotas.
Italy exceeded its national quota every year from 1995 to 2009, and the Italian state paid the Commission the due superlevy amounts over the said period (2.305 billion EUR). However, despite repeated requests by the Commission, the Italian authorities have clearly not taken appropriate measures to effectively recover the levy payable from the individual producers/dairies, as requested by the relevant EU legislation. This undermines the quota regime and distorts competition with those producers who respected their quotas and those who have taken steps to pay their individual superlevy bills. As underlined by the Italian Court of Auditors, this is also unfair on Italian taxpayers.