EU adopts measure allowing up to €100,000 in state aid for farmers

The European Commission has adopted measures to support the EU’s agri-food sector by allowing member states to provide increased state aid of up to €100,000 for farmers under a newly adopted temporary framework, the commission has confirmed.

The commission outlined that one of its priorities is ensuring food security and an effective food supply chain across the continent.

During the video-conference meeting of the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council of ministers, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski presented an overview of the situation to the ministers, adding that the commission will “analyse and reply to” tabled suggestions and requests.

Since the beginning of the crisis, measures were adopted by the commission to support the agri-food sector under three headings:
  • Extension of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payment application deadline;
  • Increased state aid; and
  • Continuous flow of food products across the EU.

The new deadline for applications for CAP payments will now be June 15, 2020, instead of May 15, allowing more flexibility for farmers to fill in their applications in these difficult and unparalleled times, the authority confirmed.

Meanwhile, under the newly adopted temporary framework for state aid, farmers can now benefit from a maximum aid of €100,000/farm and food processing and marketing companies can benefit from a maximum of €800,000.

This amount can be topped up by de minimis aid, a type of national support specific to the agricultural sector that can be granted without prior approval from the commission, the authority added.

Recently, the ceiling of this aid was increased to €20,000 (and up to €25,000 in specific cases). This means that the total national support that can be granted per farm adds up to €120,000 (or €125,000) under the temporary framework.

Regarding the continuous flow of food products, the commission says it is coordinating closely with member states to ensure a functioning single market for goods by creating “green lanes”.

These green lanes, based on designated key border crossing-points, will have border crossing checks that will not exceed 15 minutes. Passage is now granted for all goods, including agri-food products.

Commenting, Commissioner Wojciechowski said: ”We are facing an unprecedented crisis and I am ever more grateful to our farmers and producers for their continuous hard work, despite the increasing difficulties and pressure.

“These challenging times have shown the resilience of our food supply chain. Today’s meeting allowed us to have an overview of this fast-changing situation.

I listened carefully and took good note of all the suggestions and requests that the commission will now analyse and reply to.

“I will continue to follow the situation in close contact with member states. We are ready to take further action when necessary,” the commissioner concluded.