TALLINN - Court disputes between the state and private companies over excessive sugar stocks are being decided in favor of the government, the Postimees daily reported last week. Lower-level courts have so far supported the state's arguments in their decisions in three cases, while the private sector defendants have already begun the appeals process.
Tarco Vein and Hadleri Toidulisandite, two companies defeated in the court of first instance, have appealed to the administrative chamber of the second-instance circuit court, though no hearings have taken place as yet.
Charges of storing excess sugar or other staples as of May 1, 2004 have been leveled at 29 companies. A majority of firms are not only protesting against the size of the excessive stocks but also want the court to declare null and void the law on excess stocks on the grounds that it took effect a mere four days before Estonia's accession to the European Union.
The state has also filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice seeking partial invalidation of the EU's decision on Estonia's excess sugar stocks, which has resulted in a 45 million euro fine for the country.