Over 800,000 farmers will have to return the funds they received five years ago as they have been described as non-compliant with European Union legislation and deemed to constitute state subsidies.
The government will seek the return of 387.4 million euros in illegal state subsidies given to Greek farmers in 2009, according to a document that Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis handed to the Greek Parliament.
The money will have to be returned to the state by the end of November, given that EU law provides for a four-month period for the recovery of the funds from the issue of the final decision, unless the Greek government asks for an extension. The deadline expired on July 16th.
Hardouvelis also noted that if the government does not take steps to retrieve the funds, the European Court of Justice will likely order Athens to pay a fine, “while excluding Greek farmers who received the illegal subsidies from any further support until the date of full compliance.”
The finance minister noted that in its bid to implement the European Commission’s decision, the government is examining each individual case in search for a way to minimize the impact of the businesses concerned.