REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL assessing the progress reported by Italy to the Commission and the Council on the recovery of the amount due from milk producers by virtue of the additional levy for the period 1995/1996 to 2001/2002 (pursuant to Article 3 of Council Decision 2003/530/EC)
1. This is a report by the European Commission which has been produced in keeping with its obligation under Article 88(1) of the Treaty Establishing the European Community (TEC) to keep all systems of State aid under review. In this case, the State aid is assistance provided by Italy to its milk producers who were subject to an EU levy EU because they produced more milk than permitted by their quota.
2. From 1984 until 2015, the EU operated quotas for milk production. By virtue of Regulation (EEC) No 3950/92, milk producers whose production was in excess of their quota were required to pay a levy to the EU. Between 1995/1996 and 2001/2002, the volume of milk in excess of their quota produced by Italian milk producers resulted in their being assessed as liable to pay a levy totalling €1,386.5m.
3. By 2003, the Italian authorities were experiencing difficulty in collecting this levy from milk producers: producers obtained orders suspending payment of the levy from domestic courts, and the accumulation of a large backlog of pending cases meant that payment of the levy was likely to be postponed for some time into the future.