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EU Adopts New Rules For State Aids In Agriculture, Forestry, Rural Areas

The European Commission on Wednesday set out revised and updated criteria under which European Union Member States can support agriculture, forestry and rural areas, in line with the European bloc's state aid rules.

"This is part of the Commission's State Aid Modernization (SAM) initiative, aimed at fostering growth and competitiveness in the EU, and goes hand in hand with the Common Agricultural Policy, more particularly with the new rural development policy of the EU," the EU press release read.

"In more precise terms, the Commission has adopted a new Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation (ABER) and new Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas 2014 to 2020 (GL)," it added.

ABER allows the granting of certain categories of State aid to the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas without prior notification to the Commission. The GL aims at setting the general criteria which will be used by the Commission when assessing the compliance of aid with the internal market.

These new rules will apply from July 1, 2014. These new ABER and Guidelines were developed following wide consultation with the public and stakeholders.

"These new rules should improve efficiency on State Aid issues by speeding up approval procedures and cutting red tape for public authorities dealing with State aids in the agriculture sector. These improvements should therefore enable potential beneficiaries to benefit from State aids more quickly," Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos said.

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