State aid rules for agriculture, forestry and rural areas are “broadly fit for purpose” according to an evaluation from the European Commission.

The evalaution concludes that “overall the existing rules work well; are fit for purpose; and meet the needs of the sectors concerned”.

However, the evaluation found that “some targeted adjustment” may be needed to align current rules with EU priorities, including the European Green Deal.

State aid rules for agriculture, in their current form, were extended to December 31, 2022, the commission confirmed last December.

The evaluation was aimed at assessing how the current rules – which have applied since 2014 – have performed across three areas, including: minimising distortions of competition and trade in agriculture and forestry; ensuring the consistency of the agricultural state aid rules with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); and simplifying procedures.

According to the results of the evaluation, current state aid rules meet the needs of the sectors concerned, as well as wider objectives such as environmental protection and public health.

Notwithstanding that, there is also a need for “certain targeted revision” to reflect current EU priorities.

As part of this, state aid rules will have to be aligned with the European Green Deal; the Farm to Fork Strategy; as well as CAP and national CAP strategic plans, including larger “environmental ambition”.

The rules also require changing to make some of them less complex, and to provide clearer definitions and interpretations.

The commission said it will take the evaluation into account when reviewing the existing rules.

As part of the review, the possibility will be looked at of extending the measures which member states can implement without notifying the commission.

Other rule changes will be aimed at incentivising farmers and foresters to engage in activities that promote biodiversity.

The commission will look to have new rules in place before the current ones expire on December 31, 2022.