Evaluation of the instruments applicable to State aid in agriculture and forestry – a roadmap open for consultation
The European Commission – Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development – is carrying out the evaluation of the instruments applicable to State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas as a part of the process of evaluations or ‘fitness checks’ of multiple of existing EU laws.
In June 2014, the European Commission adopted revised and updated criteria under which Member States can support agriculture, forestry and rural areas, in line with EU state aid rules. This updated framework, part of the Commission’s State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative, is aimed at fostering growth and competitiveness in the EU and ensuring coherence with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in particular with the rural development policy of the EU. The framework consists of a new Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation (ABER), new Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas 2014 to 2020 (GL) and a new Regulation on De Minimis Aid.
ABER allows granting certain categories of State aid to the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas without prior notification to the Commission. The GL aim at setting the general criteria which will be used by the Commission when assessing the compliance of aid with the internal market. The De Minimis Regulation allows Member States to grant small amounts of aid without prior notification.
The framework of State aid rules for the agricultural and forestry sectors and for rural areas ensures that the Commission’s assessment of the compatibility of various forms of aid is transparent, consistent and coherent, so as to contribute to a higher degree of legal certainty for Member States and aid beneficiaries. In addition, the block exemption regulation allows for simplified procedures, as it exempts certain categories of aid from notification requirements.
The key objectives of the 2014 to 2020 framework of State aid rules for the agricultural and forestry sectors and for rural areas are to:
- Ensure consistency of agricultural State aids with both CAP and Rural Development objectives;
- Simplify and increase the efficiency of the procedures;
- As part of the general SAM initiative, guarantee that State aid does not distort, or threaten to distort, competition in the internal market.
The current framework for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas has been in force since July 2014 and expires on 31 December 2020. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the implementation of this framework, in particular with regard to the impact on the internal market. The results from the evaluation will be used to review the State aid rules. The review is to be carried out in 2020 with a view to establishing a new State aid framework for the agricultural and forestry sectors and for rural areas for the period 2021 to 2028.
A Roadmap for this evaluation is available under this link. The deadline for providing feedback is 18 May 2017.
Mr. Piotr Borkowski
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