By its judgment delivered today in Joined Cases T-722/15, T-723 and T-724/15, the Court of First Instance of the European Union (CFI) annulled an order of the European Commission which was directed against the established system of independent milk quality checks in Germany.
The case concerned an investigation into milk quality before processing financed by a levy on all milk purchasers and the Land of Bavaria. The European Commission wanted to recognise prohibited state aid in this system. Accordingly, the Commission ordered the Federal Republic of Germany to recover from milk purchasers the money used for milk quality checks, even though they had no advantage at all due to the prior payment of the financing levy.
The Court agreed with GvW Graf von Westphalen's assessment that the Commission's decision was unlawful, in particular that the essential procedural rights of the parties had not been respected.
The plaintiffs were successfully represented by the Hamburg-based GvW partner Dr Carsten Bittner, who specializes in food law and regularly assists clients in matters of European agricultural state aid law.