The European Court of Justice's Court of First Instance has ordered the European Commission to pay compensation to five Italian wine co-operatives after refusing to grant them aid in 1982 under the Brussels preventive distillation policy.

The court, acting on a suit brought by the wine companies, found that the collapse of the distillery to which the wine was sold, Distilleria Agricola Industriale de Terralba, did not exempt the Commission from paying the aid to which the growers were legally entitled.

The court gave the parties four months to agree a sum for settlement of the dispute, adding it would have the final word over the figure.