Greece has been found guilty of breaching EU welfare laws, having failed to ban barren battery cages once the welfare of laying hens directive came into force in 2012.

Greece and Italy were the two countries that continued to defy the new legislation and were taken to the European Court of Justice by the EU Commission in August 2013.

Following a lengthy court procedure, Italy was found guilty of breaking the law in May, despite the Italian government’s claim that it did not have enough time to ensure all farms were compliant.

And now Greece has been found guilty too.

Like Italy, however, the Greek government has only been ordered to pay the costs of the case. The EU Commission has not asked the court to also impose a fine.

Duncan Priestner, NFU poultry board chairman, said: “It’s disappointing that Greece has got away with producing illegal eggs for so long with absolutely no consequence for the country or the producers.

“British farmers have invested heavily to comply with the legislation and it has been an unfair playing field.”

Recent undercover footage by Compassion in World Farming suggested illegal battery cages were still in operation in the country.