The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has stated that it is essential that farms are supported through the EU’s green transition and the implementation of the Green Deal’s strategies in its draft opinion on the state aid rules applicable to agriculture.
The committee suggested raising the de minimis aid ceiling for farmers to €50,000 over a three-year period.
The ceiling currently stands at either €20,000 or €25,000 per farmer over a three-year spell, with the sum depending on whether a member state maintains a register of beneficiaries of state aid payments or not.
The EU’s move towards climate neutrality should be accompanied by flexibility on state aid rules for farmers to aid in the green transition, CoR’s rapporteur and local councillor in the Olevano Romano commune Giudo Milana said.
“After the crisis caused by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine is putting a strain on Europe’s economic recovery and the green transition for the agricultural sector,” commented Councillor Milana.
“However, we cannot afford to backtrack on tackling climate change and we say a clear 'no' to those who are making use of the conflict to weaken the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy,” he added.
“We support the importance of investing in the green transition, but at the same time call for accompanying it with appropriate support measures.
“These include, first and foremost, state aid to the agricultural, rural and forestry sectors, which must become more flexible and simpler,” the rapporteur explained.
Carbon farming and forestry
The introduction of ad-hoc aid payments for carbon farming to support was also suggested, with the committee noting the “important task” of increasing such farming practices.
The committee recognised the “important role” played by forestry and advised the European Commission “to make aid easier to implement” within the sector.
The EU advisory group also called for easier access to be granted to local authorities in delivering state aid funding to farms and micro enterprises through a simplification of state aid rules.