Lithuania to appeal to EU Court of Justice against EC's decision on EUR 1.9 mln aid cut

  • 2019-01-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania plans to appeal to the European Court of Justice against the European Commission's decision to reduce support for the country by 1.9 million euros for an alleged infringement of EU rules in providing aid to dairy farmers for early-retirement from farming.

The Cabinet is expected to decide on an appeal on Wednesday. 

In June 2015, the European Commission imposed a 5 percent financial correction from funds paid to farmers aged over 55 under the scheme, saying the authorities failed to properly verify if farmers received income from milk sales before retiring and selling their farms. 

"Lithuania's argument is that if a farmer had a milk quota, it was a clear indicator he was selling milk to the market. This condition was included in the European Commission's regulation, in a certain derogation applicable specifically to Lithuania," Tomas Lozoraitis, spokesman for the Agriculture Minister, told BNS. 

Lithuania appealed the Commission's decision to the EU General Court in 2015, but the court rejected the action last November, saying the possession of a milk quota, which had been allocated to almost 96 percent of all applicants, was not sufficient to state that a farmer was actually engaged in production.

Lithuania did not agree with the court's arguments and intends to appeal to the EU Court of Justice.

The European Commission imposed a financial correction amounting to 3 million euros on Lithuania for a similar infringement regarding payments between 2007 and 2010. The country did not contest the decision.