EU garlic fine to give British taxpayers indigestion
Tuesday, November 29 2011
West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass says meddling EU bureaucrats are again giving British taxpayers indigestion – this time thanks to a £20 million garlic tax bill.
The UKIP MEP says the EU is once more creating a stink following revelations that the EU Commission is threatening the UK Government with legal action if it fails to pay millions of pounds in alleged unpaid duty on imports of fresh garlic.
If the Government fails to pay the bill within two months the Commission has said it may refer the case to the Court of Justice.
The Commission stated: “Between 2005 and 2006, the UK customs authorities allowed imports of fresh garlic from the People’s Republic of China under wrong authorising documents.
“They have erroneously stated that the goods imported were frozen garlic for which significantly lower import duties apply.
“The Commission considers that the UK authorities did not act with all due care when issuing the authorising documents and failed to collect the correct amount of duties.
“They are therefore held financially responsible for the loss of own resources (approximately £20 million) to the EU budget.
“The Commission is determined to protect the common EU interest. Fair treatment of all Member States must be ensured. If a Member State fails to make available all the money it owes the EU budget, the other Member States need to pay more as a result.”
Commenting on the Commission’s stance, Mr Nattrass said: “These constant dictatorial displays by the EU are really giving British taxpayers chronic indigestion.
“Just this month we have seen numerous examples of EU interference which will hit British businesses..... I suggest we just breathe on them and ask them to go away.
“For example, earlier this month the European Court of Justice ruled that all jars of honey might have to be relabeled to say they contain pollen despite the fact pollen is a natural product and is not added to honey in any man-made production process.
“The EU has the cheek to mention the need to ensure the fair treatment of Member States when it says it will continue to allow some countries like Spain to continue producing eggs from battery hens despite an EU ban on their sale which is due to come into effect from January 1 next year.
“In Britain, as always, our businesses have complied with the EU regulations at huge cost. As a result our egg producers risk being undercut and pushed out of business by other competitors in Europe who have not complied with the standards. Where is the fair treatment in that?”