The European Commission has adopted today a Decision concerning a wide range of support measures under the German Milk and Fat Law (Milch- und Fettgesetz). This law dates of 1952 and has been implemented by nine German Länder (Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Brandenburg, Hessen, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland and Thüringen). The law has a longstanding tradition in Germany. Beneficiary is the dairy sector. The law provides the Länder with the possibility to impose a levy (Milchumlage) on the sector and to use the money for various measures within that sector. The total budget amounts to around € 25 million annually. Except for a few sub-measures, Germany has not notified these measures as state aid to the Commission.
Today's State aid Decision has a threefold purpose. The first one is to open a formal investigation procedure for measures that could be incompatible with the internal market. In particular routine controls of milk quality and the contribution to the national dairy association (Verband der deutschen Milchwirtschaft e.V. – VDM) fall into this category. The second purpose is to authorise some of the measures because they are compatible with the internal market. This group of measures mainly includes aid towards fundamental research projects, aid towards the livestock sector and some technical support measures. The third purpose is to declare some measures as not constituting State aid at all, in particular support for school milk schemes, support for vocational training and support for price data collection that is required under EU rules.