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Brussels, 3 February 2010

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

The European Commission has authorised today under the State aid rules a Lithuanian scheme worth LTL 10 million (approximately EUR 2.9 million) aimed at supporting farmers who encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis. Data provided by Lithuanian authorities showed the effect of the crisis on Lithuania's real economy and the decrease in producer prices for agricultural products. Aid under this new scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form of direct grants. The Lithuanian scheme was adopted following the amendment to the European Commission's Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis. This amendment introduced the possibility of granting limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers.

The Lithuanian 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 Lithuania in application of the Temporary Crisis Framework.

The new Lithuanian scheme meets all conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, the Lithuanian authorities demonstrated that the scheme is necessary, proportional and appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the Lithuanian economy. The European Commission therefore considers that the scheme can be approved under Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU.

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 686/2009.

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