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State aid: aid linked to the deferral of repayments of Italian dairy
superlevy turned down by the Commission
The Commission has today adopted a decision declaring aid in the form
of deferred payment granted by Italy to milk producers liable to the Italian
State for the amount of the milk levy which Italy had paid to the Union budget
on their behalf under an aid scheme approved by Council Decision (Decision
2003/530/EC) to be incompatible with the internal market.
Decision 2003/530/EC authorised Italy to itself pay the amount of the
milk levy due from these producers for the period 1995/1996 to 2001/2002 into
the Community budget and then to recover this amount from them in 14 equal
instalments without interest.
In 2011, Italy adopted a law granting milk producers a six-month
deferment of payment with regard to one of these instalments.
Those producers who took advantage of this deferment received aid
equivalent to an interest-free loan which cannot be justified by any competition
Moreover, the deferment infringes the Council Decision by breaching the
condition that instalments be of equal size and, for those that made use of it,
introduces a system of instalments which is no longer covered by the Council
Decision and cannot be justified either by any competition rule.
Italy will have to recover the incompatible aid together with the
However, at the recovery stage, any aid which is consistent with the de
minimis Regulation for agriculture will not be regarded as state aid and will
therefore not have to be recovered.