66% increase in ceiling per farmer under revised de minimis aid rules

The rules on de minimis aid in the agriculture sector have been revised and aid of €20,000 can now be paid to a beneficiary on a rolling three year basis – i.e. the current fiscal year and the two previous fiscal years.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Micheal Creed made the announcement during Dáil proceedings on Tuesday, April 9.

He was responding to a question put forward by deputy Charlie McConalogue who asked him if farmers that qualified for a particular scheme would be prohibited from availing of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) under de minimis rules.

‘Revised rules’

The minister said the European Commission undertook a review of the agriculture de minimis regulations during 2017 and 2018 and, as a result, revised rules were published in February.

Once a beneficiary has reached the limit they may not receive any further aid in excess of this limit under de minimis rules within the rolling time period.

He continued: “The revised rules permit a member state to increase the individual de minimis aid limit up to €25,000, once the member state does not spend more than 50% of its total national aid envelope on one particular agricultural sector.

“In these circumstances, the national limit is increased to 1.5% of the annual output. This represents a 66% increase in the ceiling per farmer and a 50% increase in the national ceiling.”

BEEP 2019

Minister Creed went on to say that because this year’s BEEP applications had been received by his department prior to the publication of the revised rules on de minimis aid, those participating in the scheme would only be considered on the basis of the threshold limits as set out in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1408/2013 – i.e. €15,000 to a single undertaking over the period of three fiscal years.

This, he added, does not mean that farmers who have reached their €15,000 threshold limit since 2017 are precluded from applying under future agriculture de minimis schemes.

“In the event that new de minimis schemes are introduced after March 14, 2019, applications for these schemes will be considered on the basis of the new increased threshold limits as set out in Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/316,” the minister concluded.