Key decision this week on who will pay for superlevy three-year payment plan

Member States are set to decide this week as to whether they will support a European Commission proposal which will give more flexibility to dairy co-operatives in how they pay the State superlevy bills.

According to European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan the Commission has decided to proceed with the three instalment payments over three years for farmers.

“We now need a conversation about how we implement it. Member States might have a view on how that can be collected,” he said.

“For the Member States perhaps some might want to have an early collection of it more might want it delayed over a period of time so they can work out their own arrangements with the co-ops.”

Until recently, the Commission said that the superlevy must be paid in full by the Member State on the due date (November 21) and that Member States, in turn, must be paid by the co-operatives on the same date. Previously, the private arrangements between co-operatives and their members was their own business.

In recent weeks the Commission has shown some flexibility around payments, with talk around a proposal to allow co-operatives pay the superlevy in instalments of one third on the due date, a further third the following year and the final third in 2017.

However, it is understood that there are currently mixed views among Member States on this proposal.

Some Member States are arguing that some countries, which are over quota, got a ‘soft landing’ as they knew the superlevy situation was on the horizon for some time, and countries who don’t have a superlevy bill are now questioning state rules should be suspended.

Member States are set to indicate this week to the Commission as to which way they intended to vote on the issue. Depending on those views there will be an official meeting in the coming weeks to vote on the proposal.