The Commission has announced that all of the 2004 accession states except Hungary will have to pay for failing to stop speculators building up stocks and benefitting from selling them at EU prices. The issue has caused alarm in the new member states who claim that in many cases the build up of stocks was due to hoarding by citizens rather than any profiteering by commercial traders. This was the excuse used by Estonia to explain what would have been huge sugar stocks per household, the argument being that Estonians were preparing for an orgy of jam making which was claimed to be an historic national pasttime.
Poland will have to pay €12.5m for surplus meat stocks, the Czech Republic €12.3m for excess meat and fruit stocks and Estonia €7.6m for milk. However, the relatively poor accession states will be given time to pay with instalments spread out over four years.