The European Commission is launching a public consultation on draft new rules on block exemption for State aids in the agriculture and forestry sectors and in rural areas.
Institutions, public authorities, organisations, companies and citizens are welcome to submit their contributions by 19 November 2013.
The current so-called Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation ("ABER"), due to expire soon, allows Member States to grant certain categories of State aid without prior notification to the Commission.
In this context, as well as in the framework of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and a general State aid modernisation initiative, the Commission is preparing new rules, set to enter into force on 1 July 2014.
The draft rules widen the agricultural block exemption and include new categories of aid, for example for the forestry sector and for smaller enterprises in rural areas that receive funding from the Rural Development Fund.
These new rules should significantly reduce the administrative burden for the authorities involved, thus also enabling potential beneficiaries to benefit from State aids more quickly.
The draft proposal will also be discussed with Member States in mid-November and be further developed to take into account the consultation's results.