The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has welcomed the announcement by the European Commission that the maximum threshold limits under the agriculture de minimis regulation have increased from €15,000 up to €25,000.
“I have said that the State will not be found wanting when it comes to supporting the Irish agri-food sector and farmers when it comes to Brexit,” the Minister said.
“The increase in the agriculture de minimis limits is a very important first step, and I am grateful to the Commissioner for his response on this issue.”
Creed has met with EU Commissioner Phil Hogan on several occasions since Brexit first appeared on the scene, regularly pushing for the need for flexibility in State Aid Rules.
The Commissioner confirmed that the Commission was ready to respond as appropriate.
“I am delighted that this investment has been successfully progressed through the Directorate General for Agriculture, following extensive engagement led by my Department, in collaboration with the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Enterprise Ireland and with the European Commission,” he added.
“This approval is an important precedent, and can provide a template for the assistance of companies in the agri-food sector within the state aid rules and regulations.”
The Commission’s decision to increase the limit on State Aid for farmers was also welcomed by the Irish Farmers Association, however, it warned that significantly more funding could be necessary.
IFA President Joe Healy claimed that, in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, State Aid limited to €8,300 per year will ‘not be enough given the losses that farmers have already encountered and will be facing in such a scenario’.
He said that the EU Commission will have to be the primary source of funds for a Brexit emergency support package, such is the scale of losses from a Brexit crash out.
The farmers’ group put proposals to the Irish government and the EU Commission for a comprehensive package of market supports and direct aid for farmers.
“We need to see much more urgency from the Minister and clarity on the details of exactly what mechanisms will be applied. Aid must go to farmers and not be gobbled up by others in the supply chain,” Healy said.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.