The legal instruments applicable to State aid in the agricultural sector were revised in the course of the years 2013 and 2014.
The new instruments are the following:
- Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation ("ABER") (in place since 1 July 2014)
- Guidelines ("GL") (apply as from 1 July 2014)
Allowing many more block exemptions by widening the scope of ABER
For example, it will be possible in future for Member States to grant aid to the forestry sector and to smaller enterprises in rural areas without having to go through lengthy notification and authorisation procedures. A simple information sheet to be sent to the Commission and ensuring compliance with the conditions of the new ABER will suffice.
Widening the scope of GL
For example, it will be possible for Member States to grant aid to compensate for damage caused by protected animals and to purchase breeding animals for the improvement of the genetic quality of the herd.
One window approach
Member States will only have to go through one administrative procedure vis-à-vis the Commission (i.e. a Rural Development Programme approval procedure, while merely informing the Commission of their block exemptions for the purpose of the State aid aspects) and, as far as possible, Member States will deal with only one department (or DG) inside the Commission when seeking clearance for their Rural Development Programmes.
Reducing administrative burdens
The new rules proposed by the Commission significantly reduce the administrative burden for public authorities when dealing with State aids in the agriculture sector and speed up procedures. Therefore, potential beneficiaries will also be able to profit from the respective planned State aids more rapidly.
The revision is part of the State aid Modernisation (SAM) and takes into account the new rules that will be applicable to agriculture and rural development under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.
In December 2013, the legislator adopted the legal instruments related to the Multiannual Financing Framework, as regards the new Common Agricultural Policy, notably the new Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The European Commission invited all stakeholders to make comments on the new draft text of the future ABER and on the draft text of the future GL (24/02/2014 - 24/03/2014).
The European Commission invited all stakeholders to make comments on the draft text of the new ABER (15/10/2013 - 19/11/2013).
The European Commission invited all stakeholders to fill in questionnaires on the rules applicable to state aid investigations concerning agriculture and forestry (20/12/2012 - 20/03/2013).
Roadmaps and Impact Assessment Reports
>> Summary Impact Assessment Report GL and ABER (more language versions coming soon)