Estonia received a devastating setback in the sugar fine issue from the European Court of Justice which decided that the sugar Estonian households hoarded before Estonia joined the EU cannot be subtracted from all sugar that was bought, LETA/National Broadcasting reports.
The European Court of Justice which had already once ruled against Estonia in the sugar fine dispute, did not take into proceedings the complaint in which Estonia stressed the fact that a large part of the excess inventories Estonia had accumulated before joining the EU was not bought by companies but households.
Countries that joined the EU in 2004 had to remove excess inventories to pay a fine for them to avoid distorting the European Union internal market. Jam sugar of households would not have distorted the market, Estonia claimed.
“The European Court of Justice decided not to take Estonia’s complaint into proceedings. Thus the hope was lost to get more than 200 million back out of the 580 million kroons paid to the European Union,” said agriculture ministry deputy chancellor Andres Oopkaup.
“Estonia paid the whole sugar fine over four years after accession, according to the fine decision; the last of the money was transferred in December 2009. If we had won the dispute, we would have regained about 40% of that money from European taxpayers since we think that it was unjustly claimed money,” said Oopkaup.
The decree of the European Court of Justice stressed, among other things, that the market was distorted by sugar hoarded by households before EU accession since private consumers bought less sugar as the result from the EU market after joining the EU.