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State aid: Commission approves €218 million Bulgarian scheme to support agricultural producers in context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The European Commission has approved a €218 million (BGN 426 million) Bulgarian scheme to support certain 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 increases of energy prices and other input costs caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the related sanctions. This €218 million scheme approved today will enable Bulgaria 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 Bulgarian measure

Bulgaria notified to the Commission under the Temporary Crisis Framework a €218 million (BGN 426 million) scheme to support certain agricultural producers in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The measure will be open to micro, small and medium-sized companies active in the primary production of certain agricultural products, which have been affected by the price increase of energy, fertilizers and other input costs, caused by the current geopolitical crisis and the related sanctions. The primary production of the following agricultural products is covered by the scheme: small and large ruminants, horses, beehives, fruits and vegetables (in particular salads and lettuce, okra and courgette), rose oil, wine vines, nuts and tobacco.

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 animals and of hectares of agricultural land.

The Commission found that the Bulgarian 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 Bulgarian 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.

Click here for the full press release

 

Original article link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_4903

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