EU says sugar producers over-charged production levies between 1999-2001 to be repaid

Department assessing the impact of an EU decision

Sugar beet farmers demonstrate at the EU Council
Sugar beet farmers demonstrate at the EU Council
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Officials in the Department of Agriculture are currently assessing the impact of an EU decision to refund sugar producers who were over-charged production levies for the years 1999/2000 and 2000/2001.

The levies for the marketing years in question were originally set by EU Regulation.

This regulation provided for a self-financing system for the sugar sector by means of flexible production levies.

Under EU Regulations, the common organisation of the markets in the sugar sector was based on the principle that producers should bear full financial responsibility for the losses incurred each marketing year due to disposing of surplus sugar over the production quota allocated.

On 9 February 2017, the European Court of Justice delivered a judgment which ruled that the production levies for the sugar sector between 1999 and 2001 had been wrongly calculated, resulting in sugar producers being over-charged.

President if the European Council of Agriculture Minsters, Rumen Porodzanov said the decision enables the EU to “put right the wrongs of the past and ensure that those sugar producers who were over-charged are fully refunded."

The Department of Agriculture here is currently assessing the implications of this decision.

However, it said under a new regulation to give effect to the Court decision, the former sugar processor and the former sugar beet growers will be reimbursed from an amount yet to be determined.

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It also said no further details on the level of refund or the number of recipients are available yet.

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