A top European Union court has fined Italy 30 million euros ($34 million) for failing to recover millions of euros in relief from social security contributions granted to hundreds of companies.

The EU Court of Justice ruled Thursday that Italy had "failed to fulfil its obligation to recover the aid."

The EU's executive Commission insists that the social security reductions allowed for 1,645 firms in the Venice and Chioggia region between 1995 and 1997 amount to state aid.

A court ruling in 2011 confirmed the Commission's view but Italy has failed to recover the aid and in some cases even suspended recovery of it.

The Luxembourg-based EU court also fined Italy 12 million euros for each six-month period of delay in respecting the 2011 ruling.