Skip to main content

Ewe Premium

Volume 127: debated on Thursday 11 February 1988

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he proposes to take to repay to British producers and trade interests the sums recoverable from the European Community as a result of recent favourable judgments on ewe premium and clawback, respectively.

The European Court's judgment of 2 February in cases 305/85 and 142/86 declares void the rates of ewe premium which were set by EC Commission regulation for Great Britain for the 1984–85 and 1985 marketing years. This welcome judgment fully vindicates the Government's case that the rates had been wrongly calculated. It means that supplementary premium payments will be payable to GB producers from FEOGA funds. Some £l1 million is involved, and we shall make payment arrangements as soon as the EC Commission has made new regulations setting properly calculated rates. And we are pressing the Commission to make the necessary regulations as soon as possible.The judgment in EC case 61/86—the Government's other sheepmeat case against the EC Commission —declares the relevant EC regulations void in so far as they apply clawback to exports of ewes, ewemeat and other categories of sheep and sheepmeat which cannot receive variable premium. As an immediate result, exporters of the affected categories are no longer obliged to pay clawback. In our view, the judgment also means that the Commission should return to us the clawback collected under the invalid regulations. We are also pressing the Commission on this as a matter of urgency. My officials will be maintaining close contact with the farmers' unions and the export trade who together have a related case before the High Court concerning one particular export consignment.