Estonia files suit in European court

  • 2005-08-31
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Estonia has filed a suit in the European Court of Justice in an attempt to cancel, in part, the European Commission's penalty on the country's excessive sugar stocks.
The Foreign Ministry reported that the contents of the suit, filed on Aug. 25, or the last day before the deadline, are restricted and will not be made public.

However, officials said that the suit emphasizes discrimination of the EU's new member countries compared with those that acceded in earlier rounds of enlargement.

The government wants to have the 91,644 excess sugar stock cut in half by deducting 42,371 tons of sugar purportedly acquired by households.

In the run-up to EU membership, many Estonians hoarded sugar and other staples in fear that their prices would rise dramatically after May 1, 2004.

If the established excess stock remains at the original level, Estonia could be compelled to pay a penalty of more than 700 million kroons (45 million euros).

Still, despite the suit, Estonia will still have to pay the fine. But if it wins, all money paid will be returned.

Estonia is being represented by the Dutch law office Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which will receive a fee of 48,000 euros for its services.