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Monday, 09.12.2013, 11:21
Estonia will claim sugar fine back from the EU
"Latest developments have been positive and Estonia has reason to apply to get back all money paid to the European Commission for excess inventories," said agriculture minister Helir-Valdor Seeder. "We have a court ruling that states that the European Union administration did not fulfil the obligation about publishing legal acts in the Estonian language. Although that specific decision concerns other agricultural produce, there is analogy with sugar and the agriculture ministry will contact the Commission so that sugar fine would also be returned to us."
The European Court of Justice made a ruling on July 12 that European Commission decrees concerning excess inventories were not published in the EU official announcements bulletin in the required form in time. The court stated that the decrees should have been published in the required form, i.e. in the Estonian language before May 1, 2004 when Estonia joined the EU.
The Estonian state has paid to the European Commission since 2007 a total of 6.584 million euros for excess inventories of other agricultural produce (dairy products, rice, wine). Estonia has paid 34.264 million euros for excess sugar inventories, i.e. 75% of the total fine (45.7 million euros). 25% of the fine Estonia was allowed to keep for expenses.
The Estonian state will most likely have to pay back to companies 1,823,000 euros that they paid for the excess inventories, plus 2,135,000 euros of interests and up to 180,000 euros of court fees. The state will have to pay to companies most likely up to 4,138,000 euros, which will be paid from government reserves.