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Brussels, 19 April 2011

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

The European Commission has recently authorised a Portuguese scheme with a budget of €50 million which aims at supporting farmers in Portugal who encounter difficulties as a result of the economic crisis. Aid under this scheme can be granted until 31 December 2011 and will take the form of interest rate subsidies. 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, adopted in December 2010 (see IP/10/1636), in order to allow Member States to grant limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers.

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). It is limited in time until 31 December 2011. It provides aid in the form of interest rate subsidies, up to € 15,000 per farmer, which are calculated on the basis of the applicable reference rate.

The Portuguese scheme complies with all the conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, the Portuguese 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 the State aid rules (Article 107(3)(b)) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The full text of the Commission decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website under the reference number SA 32616.

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