The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture may have sought £100 million to cover the eventual total disallowance by the EU Commission for the maladministration of EU funds but, as RTÉ reports, the Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, has told the Assembly that “the Department is taking the necessary steps today to take a case to the European Court of Justice” challenging that disallowance.
From the Minister’s press release
The Minister delivered her statement to set out her Department’s position in regard to the EU Disallowance threat relating to its administration of European Agricultural Funds and to detail the actions being taken to counter it. She said: “I have significant concerns that the Commission is being heavy handed and is over-estimating the risk to public funds. I know that I am not alone in that concern among member states.”
Confirming the Department’s latest action in challenging the Commission’s decision to disallow, she continued: “I can confirm that the Department is taking the necessary steps today to take a case to the European Court of Justice and that it has the support of the Executive in this matter. The action will be taken by the Department, with appropriate legal advice from the member state and from the Attorney General’s office.”
But if, as the Minister implies, other member states support her position, where are their legal challenges?
And isn’t the “member state” here the UK?
Adds From the UTV report
A spokesman for the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission said: “Everyone has recourse to the court and the European Commission will defend its decision, which already went through an internal process of conciliation with the authorities in Northern Ireland.”