State aid guidelines – evaluation and fitness check
The European Commission has recently published a roadmap for the evaluation of State aid instruments in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas.

The purpose of this evaluation is to evaluate the implementation of the current framework for State aids in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas in particular with regard to the impact on the internal market.

The framework for State aids expires on 31 December 2020.

The evaluation should for certain aspects focus on a selection of measures under the Block Exemption Regulation (EU) No 702/2014 (ABER) and the Guidelines. The de minimis Regulation (EU) No 1408/2013 will not be covered. The measures to be examined will be selected by the Commission services. The selection should on the one hand cover measures which aim at mitigating risks inherent to the agriculture or forestry sectors (e.g. plant pests, animal diseases and adverse weather events) and which are not likely to have significant distortive effects on competition and trade; on the other hand it should also cover measures that were newly introduced in the Guidelines in 2014.

The results from the evaluation will be used for the review of the State aid rules, to be carried out in 2020 with the view to establishing a new State aid framework for the agricultural and forestry sectors and for rural areas for the period 2021 to 2028.

Embedded in the evaluation of the state aid guidelines a consultation process will be launched and an external evaluation study will be carried out. The format of the consultation activities and the groups to be reached still have to be further specified. The planned start date of the evaluation is October 2017.

Towards the end of the external study work feeding into this Commission evaluation an open internet-based public consultation will be conducted. The public consultation will be combined with the one needed for the impact assessment guiding the preparation of the State aid framework for the period 2021 – 2028 (one single open public consultation). Its results will feed into the preparation of the evaluation Staff Working Document.

For further information please consult the following link: evaluation and fitness check roadmap.

The European Commission adopted in June 2014 revised and updated criteria under which Member States can support agriculture, forestry and rural areas, in line with EU state aid rules. This implies a new Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation (ABER), new Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas 2014 to 2020 (GL) and a new regulation on de minimis aid. This updated framework formed part of the Commission's State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative.