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Brussels, 2 December 2009

State aid: Commission temporarily authorises France to grant limited amounts of aid of up to €15,000 to farmers

The European Commission authorised today a French scheme of an approximate budget of € 700 million which aims at supporting farmers who encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis. Aid under this new scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form of direct grants, interest rate subsidies, subsidised loans as well as aid towards the payment of social security contributions. The French scheme is an application of the amendment to the Commission's Temporary framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis, which introduced the possibility of granting limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers (see IP/09/1599 ).

The French scheme is open to farmers in all sub-sectors of primary agricultural production, provided they were not already in difficulty on 1 July 2008 (i.e. before the beginning of the crisis). It is limited in time until 31 December 2010 and complements other crisis measures already put in place by France in application of the Temporary Crisis Framework.

The new French scheme meets all the conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework as amended. In particular, the French authorities demonstrated that it is necessary, proportional and appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the French economy. The Commission therefore considered that the scheme can be approved under Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty.

The full text of the Commission decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website under the reference number N 609/09.

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