Brussels, 26 November 2008
The European Commission has decided today to launch a formal investigation against possible illegal State aid granted by the Dutch Province Flevoland to the undertaking Farm Dairy Flevoland in 1999. The aid amounts to € 715 000. The aid does not seem to be in line with the State rules applicable at the time of the granting of the aid.
The aid has been granted by the Province Flevoland as investment aid in favour of the undertaking Farm Dairy Flevoland, located in Lelystad. The undertaking is active in the production of yoghurts and other milk desserts.
The Commission has doubts as to the compatibility of these measures with the applicable State aid rules, and in particular with the rules for investments concerning the processing and marketing of agricultural products, which do not allow for investment aid for milk products unless there is substantial innovation in the investment. Despite the Commission's request, the Netherlands did not give any indication which allowed the Commission to conclude that the investment would be in line with the requirements of the applicable rules. The Commission has therefore decided to investigate whether these measures constitute incompatible State aid by opening the investigation procedures under the state aid rules of the EC Treaty.
The full text of the Commission decisions will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Netherlands and other interested parties will be given one month from the date of publication to submit their comments. After this period, the Commission will rule as soon as possible whether these measures are compatible with the common market.