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New draft Block Exemption Regulation for the agriculture and forestry sector and for rural areas (draft ABER) for information and feedback (CLOSED)

Title

New draft Block Exemption Regulation for the agriculture and forestry sector and for rural areas (draft ABER) for information and feedback

 

Policy field

Agriculture and Rural Development

 

Target groups

This draft is made public to inform institutions, public authorities, organisations, citizens, companies, and all other stakeholders affected by the agricultural State aid instruments. Comments are particularly sought from the national authorities dealing with the State aid measures covered by ABER.

 

Period of consultation

From 24 February to 24 March 2014

 

Description

State funding meeting the criteria of Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) constitutes State aid. However, according to Art 109 TFEU, the Council may determine categories of aid that are exempt from the notification procedure set out in Article 108(3) TFEU. Council Regulation (EC) No. 994/98, as amended by Council Regulation (EU) No. 733/2013, enables the Commission to declare compatible with the internal market aid in the following categories of aid in favour of:

- small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs),
- making good the damage caused by natural disasters,
- conservation of cultural and natural heritage,
- forestry.


The Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation No. 1857/2006, applicable as from 1 January 2007 and currently prolonged until 30 June 2014, simplifies the procedures for the aid granting authorities and allows a range of measures in favour of SMEs active in the production of agricultural products. With about more than 1770 measures introduced since its entry into force, the current ABER has been extensively used by Member States (MS). In 2012 aid under ABER amounted to EUR 1.257 billion, which represents about 14% of aid granted to the agricultural sector.


The Commission launched, with its Communication on State aid Modernisation (SAM), of 8 May 2012, a broad review of State aid rules. State aid enforcement should facilitate sustainable, smart and inclusive growth, focus on cases with the biggest impact on the single market and streamline the rules and provide for faster, better informed and more robust decisions. The review of the ABER takes, on the one hand, place in the context of that SAM initiative of the Commission and aims at contributing to its objectives, with particular focus on simplification and coherence between the different legal instruments in the field of State aid.


On the other hand, the future draft ABER is also closely linked to the future draft General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) and will follow the developments and possible further amendments of the draft GBER as regards its relevant common provisions.


The future draft ABER aims at facilitating the "one window" approach requested by MS in the framework of the review of the post 2013 Rural Development (RD) Regulation. The future draft ABER therefore closely follows Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005. The review of the ABER will ensure that MS and stakeholders have a clear set of rules as a reference point for the development of their State aid policies. This will, in particular, be important for the expenditure under EU RD policy in the period 2014-2020.


This second draft of the future ABER is made available for information and feedback and introduces new features as compared to the current rules:

- extension of the scope to reduce administrative burdens;
- simplification and clarification of rules combined with safeguards;
- closer alignment to the new RD policy (2014-2020);
- closer alignment with the horizontal rules (GBER).


The Commission already invited the MS and stakeholders to provide comments for the review of the ABER 2007-2013. A consultation on the basis of a questionnaire took place between 20/12/2012 and 20/03/2013. A first draft of the future ABER was available for information and feedback between 15/10/2013 to 19/11/2013.

 

How to submit your contribution

You are invited to submit your contributions in any official EU language. However, submissions of replies in one of the Commission's working languages (English, French or German) would be welcomed to enable the Commission to process them more swiftly.


In your reply, please indicate whether you are replying as citizen, organisation or public authority.


If your organisation is registered in the Transparency Register, please indicate your Register ID number on the first page of your contribution. If your organisation is not registered, you can register now. Responses from organisations not registered will be published separately.


Received contributions, together with the identity of the contributor, will be published on this website, unless the contributor objects to publication of the personal data on the grounds that such publication would harm his or her legitimate interests. In this case the contribution may be published in anonymous form.


It is important to read the privacy statement pdf - 82 KB [82 KB] for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

 

View the draft ABER

 

Contact details

Responsible service:

European Commission
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
Unit I.2 - Competition

 

E-mail:

AGRI-STATE-AID-CONSULTATION@ec.europa.eu

 

Postal address:

European Commission
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
Unit I.2 - Competition
Rue de la Loi 130
05/94A
B-1049 Brussels
Belgium

 

Number of replies received

35

 

View the replies

 

Results and next steps

This draft ABER was also discussed with MS in mid-March 2014. It was then further developed, also on the basis of comments received by stakeholders throughout the whole process. 


The new ABER entered into force on 1 July 2014.

 

Protection of personal data

Specific privacy statement pdf - 82 KB [82 KB]

 

 

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