Commission seeks feedback on draft targeted amendments to rules on small amounts of State aid to the agricultural sector

The European Commission has launched today a public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on draft targeted amendments to the rules on small amounts of aid to the agricultural sector (‘Agricultural de minimis Regulation‘). All interested parties can respond to the public consultation until 21 July 2024.

The proposed amendment

The Agricultural de minimis Regulation exempts small amounts from State aid control since they are deemed to have no impact on competition and trade in the Single Market.

Following its last revision in 2019, Member States can currently grant support to the agricultural sector of up to €20,000 per beneficiary over a period of three fiscal years without prior notification for Commission approval. If a Member State has a central register at national level to register de minimis aid, a higher ceiling applies, of €25,000 over a period of three fiscal years. Besides these ceilings per beneficiary, each EU Member State has a maximum national amount for such support (a so-called ‘national cap’), in order to avoid any potential distortion of competition.

The Agricultural de minimis Regulation is set to expire on 31 December 2027. A review of the Regulation was planned ahead of this expiry.

The Commission has taken note of the European Council’s conclusions of 17 and 18 April 2024 on the importance of a competitive, sustainable, and resilient agricultural sector. Against this background and in view of the increasing inflationary pressure on the farming sector and high commodity prices, the Commission has launched a targeted revision of the Agricultural de minimis Regulation on 2 May 2024, earlier than the planned review.

The Commission is now seeking feedback on this early revision of the Agricultural de minimis Regulation.

The draft amendments include the following changes:

  • The increase of the maximum de minimis ceiling per company over three years, from €25,000 to €37,000, to account for inflation.
  • The adjustment the ‘national caps’, which are calculated based on the value of agricultural output. The current rules take into account the reference period 2012-2017 for this calculation. This reference period would be expanded to 2012-2023, which allows to take account of the increased value of agricultural production particularly during the last years, thereby increasing the national cap for all Member States.
  • The maximum aid amount will be calculated over a period of three years instead of three fiscal years, in line with the non-sector specific general de minimis rules.
  • The introduction of a mandatory central register of de minimis aid at national or European level, to increase transparency and reduce administrative burden on farmers who currently use a self-declaration system and as they will no longer need to self-monitor compliance (currently, such central registers are voluntary for Member States).

By increasing the maximum de minimis ceiling per company to account for inflation, the proposed amendments will widen the possibilities for Member States to provide support to farmers in a simpler, faster, more direct and efficient manner, as such support does not need to be notified to nor approved by the Commission. In addition, the proposed amendments will reduce the administrative burden for farmers through the introduction of mandatory central de minimis registers, which will alleviate reporting obligations for the farmers – mostly micro, small and medium-sized companies.

Finally, the revision will prolong the Regulation until 2032.

Next steps

All interested parties can submit their comments on the draft amendment by 21 July 2024. More information, including on how to submit a contribution, is available here.

In addition to the public consultation launched today, the draft proposal will also be discussed in meetings between the Commission and Member States.

This process will ensure that both Member States and other interested parties will have sufficient opportunities to comment on the draft Commission proposal.

The Commission intends to adopt the amendments to the Agricultural de minimis Regulation as soon as possible, taking into account the feedback received from the Member States and interested parties.

Source: European Commission | Pressroom (