State aid: Commission approves €110 million Austrian scheme to support agricultural producers in context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine
The European Commission has approved a €110 million Austrian scheme to support primary agricultural producers in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022 and amended on 20 July 2022, based on Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU'), recognising that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, recently said:
“The agricultural sector has been hit particularly hard by the price increase of energy and other input costs caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the related sanctions. This €110 million scheme approved today will enable Austria to support farmers affected by the current geopolitical crisis. We continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. At the same time, we continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, while protecting the level playing field in the Single Market.”
The Austrian measure
Austria notified to the Commission under the Temporary Crisis Framework a €110 million scheme to support the primary agricultural production sector in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The measure will be open to companies of all sizes active in the primary agricultural production sector, which have been affected by the price increase of energy, fertilizers and other raw materials, caused by the current geopolitical crisis and the related sanctions.
Under this scheme, the eligible beneficiaries will be entitled to receive limited amounts of aid in the form of direct grants. The aid amount per beneficiary will be calculated on the basis of the number of hectares of agricultural land.
The Commission found that the Austrian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €62,000 per beneficiary; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2022.
The Commission concluded that the Austrian scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework.
On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU State aid rules.
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