Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 3 October 2012
State aid: the Commission opens an enquiry into a French levy in the dairy sector (‘taxe FranceAgriMer’)
After receiving a complaint, the European Commission has decided to open a formal investigation into a French levy in the dairy sector (‘taxe FranceAgriMer’). The Commission has doubts that the rules on the collection of the levy and use of the revenue are compatible with EU law and, in particular, with the rules on State aid. The opening of a formal investigation allows the Commission to examine the measure more closely and gives interested parties the possibility to submit comments. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.
The levy concerned (‘taxe FranceAgriMer’), introduced in 2005 to finance the cessation of dairy production, is imposed where a producer exceeds his or her individual quota for deliveries or direct sales, irrespective of whether or not the national milk quota has been exceeded. Rebates on the levy can be laid down by decree.
At this stage, the Commission doubts that the measures concerned are compatible with the internal market for several reasons:
the rebates contain an element of State aid that the competition rules do not appear to provide for;
the aid for the cessation of dairy production does not appear to comply with the rules on State aid in the agricultural sector;
the revenue from the levy, which is considered to constitute State resources, has also been used to finance the destruction of milk contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) under conditions that do not appear to comply with the rules on State aid in the agricultural sector;
it cannot be ruled out that the rules on the imposition of the levy themselves infringe the Regulation on the common organisation of agricultural markets given that the levy is collected irrespective of whether or not the national milk quota is exceeded, while the Regulation stipulates that the quota must be exceed before a levy can be collected.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.
For further information:
State Aid Weekly e-News: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/newsletter/index.html
State aid in the agricultural sector:http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/stateaid/index_en.htm
Fanny Dabertrand (+32 2 299 06 25)
Roger Waite (+32 2 296 14 04)