September 21, 2018 / 12:25 PM / a month ago

EU Commission sending Britain new warning over 2.7 billion-euro bill, source says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain will get a second warning from the European Commission over a 2.7 billion-euro (2.41 billion pounds) charge from an import scam the commission is trying to recover, a senior European Union official said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech during a debate on The State of the European Union at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The EU executive arm has already decided to send the warning but postponed announcing it to Monday, Sept. 24, to avoid interfering with an EU summit in Austria this week, the official told Reuters.

Britain will receive a new formal warning, the second step in EU sanctions procedure, for not having recovered 2.7 billion euros in revenues lost in a scam involving Chinese imports into Europe. The EU warned London about this for the first time in March.

The procedure is meant to put pressure on the offending member states and could eventually end up in financial sanctions, although this has occurred only in rare cases.

The imports were declared at an artificially low value to reduce the level of customs duties raised, according to the Commission, with a resultant impact on the EU’s budget.

Britain has said it does not accept liability for the alleged losses or recognise the estimate of alleged duty evaded.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop, Larry King

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