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IP/10/119

Brussels, 3 February 2010

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

The European Commission has authorised today under the State aid rules an Italian scheme with a budget worth an estimated €320 million aimed at supporting farmers who encounter difficulties as a result of the current financial and economic crisis. Updated data and statistics provided by the Italian authorities showed the effect of the crisis on Italy's real economy and the impact of the economic downturn in the agriculture sector. Aid under this new scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010, it will be awarded by local, regional authorities and by public entities under different forms on condition that the aid is transparent. The Italian 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 Italian scheme is open to farmers in all sub-sectors of primary agricultural production, provided they were not already in difficulty at the date of 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 Italy, in application of the Temporary Crisis Framework, and already approved by the Commission in the framework of case N 248/2009.

The Italian scheme meets all conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, the Italian authorities demonstrated that the scheme is necessary, proportional and appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the Italian economy and more specifically in the agriculture sector. 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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