Chat with us, powered by LiveChatCommission launches public consultation on raising agri 'de minimis limits - FASI
FASI - Funding Aid Strategies Investments

Commission launches public consultation on raising agri 'de minimis limits

10 June 2024

Harvesting combine at work: credit - Tom Fisk via PexelsThe European Commission has launched a public consultation on draft amendments to the Agricultural de Minimis Regulation, which exempts small amounts of state aid from control. The consultation seeks feedback on proposed changes that aim to increase the maximum de minimis ceiling per company over three years from €25 000 to €37 000, adjust the national caps, introduce a mandatory central register of de minimis aid, and prolong the Regulation until 2032.

What the consultation will investigate

The public consultation will investigate the following key areas:

  • Raising the de minimis ceiling: The proposed increase from €25,000 to €37,000 aims to account for inflation and widen the possibilities for Member States to provide support to farmers in a simpler and faster manner;
  • Adjusting national caps: The current calculation of national caps based on the value of agricultural output will be updated to include the period 2012-2023, reflecting the increased value of agricultural production in recent years. This will lead to an increase in the national cap for all Member States;
  • Introducing a mandatory central register of de minimis aid: This measure aims to increase transparency and reduce administrative burden on farmers by eliminating the need for self-declaration and self-monitoring compliance;
  • Prolonging the Regulation until 2032: This extension will provide long-term stability and predictability for farmers and Member States.

Where this comes from

The State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework (TCTF), introduced in March 2022, provided temporary support to businesses affected by the war in Ukraine. This included agricultural businesses, which faced significant challenges due to disrupted supply chains, soaring energy costs, and trade impacts. While the TCTF has been extended for certain sectors, including agriculture and fisheries, other crisis response measures have expired. This highlights the need for continued support for the agricultural sector, which faces ongoing challenges due to the conflict.

The agricultural de minimis Regulation was last revised in 2019 and is set to expire on 31 December 2027. De minimis aid, which exempts small amounts of state aid from EU control, has played a crucial role in supporting agricultural businesses during the current crisis. The proposed increase in the de minimis ceiling will further enhance the ability of Member States to provide essential support to farmers in a timely and efficient manner. The current review, launched earlier than planned in response to the increasing inflationary pressure on the farming sector and high commodity prices, aims to ensure the continued competitiveness and resilience of the agricultural sector.

Continuing concerns

While the proposed amendments offer clear advantages for the agricultural sector, some concerns and considerations remain:

  • uneven impact: The focus on agriculture and fisheries in the TCTF extension and the proposed de minimis increase may leave other struggling businesses behind, particularly smaller firms unable to access streamlined de minimis aid;
  • competition distortion: The Letta report warns that differing state capacity for de minimis aid could distort competition across the Single Market;
  • red tape: Despite efforts to simplify procedures, gaps in coverage may persist between those able to access de minimis aid and those left without support.

Next steps

The public consultation on the draft amendments to the Agricultural de Minimis Regulation is a crucial step in ensuring the continued competitiveness and resilience of the agricultural sector.  The investigation is open until 21 July 2024, and invites all interested parties - including farmers, farm organisations, businesses, and Member States - to submit their feedback.

Following the consultation, the Commission will analyse the responses and consider any necessary adjustments to the proposed amendments. The Commission intends to adopt the final amendments as soon as possible, taking into account the feedback received. This will ensure that the revised Regulation can provide timely and effective support to the agricultural sector.

For more information

FASI: prolonged aid for farms and fisheries: relief with conditions

Public consultation on draft amendments to the agricultural de minimis Regulation

Agricultural De Minimis Regulation: full text

State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework (TCTF)