The Commission of the European Union today [Wednesday] decided to ask the Court of Justice to annul the Council of Ministers' decision of 21 January authorising Portugal to grant aid of a maximum of €16.3m (US$14.1m) to pig farmers.

This Commission explained that this is the same amount of state aid as should have been repaid by 2,116 farmers under two final negative decisions of the Commission of 25 November 1999 and 4 October 2000.

For the first time the Council has used this exceptional procedure to approve an aid the sole purpose of which is to cancel the financial impact of two final decisions of the Commission. The Commission said it sees the legal security of European Union decisions as seriously threatened by the Council's decision.

To read more on this intra-EU controversy, click here.