On 14 July 2011, the ECJ ruled that Italy had failed to fulfil its obligations to recover illegal state aid granted under a scheme to promote investments in municipalities affected by natural disasters. In 2004, the Commission decided that the scheme was incompatible with the common market. In general, aid to make good damage caused by natural disasters would be automatically compatible with the state aid rules by virtue of Article 107(2)(b) TFEU. However, the Commission claimed that the aid provided exceeds the damage caused by natural disasters in some circumstances. The Commission required that any aid which exceeded the net value of the damage suffered by the recipient be recovered within two months of its decision. Although it accepted that Italy had taken serious attempts to recover the aid including legislative steps to facilitate recovery, the ECJ rejected Italy’s defence that it had fulfilled its duty to ensure recovery. The ECJ noted that the only defence would be ‘absolute impossibility’ to effect recovery and Italy had not fulfilled this test.