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Brussels, 21 April 2010

State aid: Commission authorises Bulgaria to grant limited amounts of aid in the agricultural sector

The European Commission authorised a Bulgarian scheme with a budget of BGN 20 million (approximately € 10,26 million) which aims at supporting agricultural holdings active in the primary production, marketing and processing of agricultural products who encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis. Aid under this scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form of a direct grant. This scheme is an application of the Commission's Temporary framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis.

The scheme is open to all undertakings in the agricultural sector, 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. The scheme provides aid in the form of direct grant. The aid shall not exceed € 15 000 per undertaking. The notified scheme will be applied at national level and administered by the State Fund Agriculture.

The scheme meets all the conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, the Bulgarian authorities demonstrated that it is necessary, proportional and appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy. The Commission therefore considered that the scheme can be approved under Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (former 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 108/2010.

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