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Brussels, 25 May 2010

State aid: Commission authorises temporary Finnish scheme to grant limited amounts of aid of up to €15,000 to farmers

The European Commission authorised a Finnish scheme with a budget of 22 million which aims at supporting farmers in Finland 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 a further application of the Commission's Temporary framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis, as amended end of October 2009 in order to allow Member States to grant limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers (see IP/08/1993 ).

The 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) and that beneficiary's ratio between the amount of liabilities on 31 December 2009 and the average annual turnover in years 2007-2009 is at least 1.0. The scheme is limited in time until 31 December 2010 and complements other crisis measures already put in place by the Finnish authorities in application of the Temporary Crisis Framework (among which measure N 224/2009 - see IP/09/869 ). The scheme provides aid in the form of direct grant.

The new Finnish scheme meets all the conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework as amended. In particular, the Finnish 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 141/2010.

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