EC Approves €30M German Scheme To Compensate Farmers 

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €30 million (US$36.5 million) German scheme to compensate farmers for income foregone and additional costs to attain the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. 

The scheme will be open to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises active in the primary agricultural production in Bavaria. The objective of the scheme is to partially compensate farmers for their loss of income and additional costs resulting from the prohibition of horticultural and arable farming activities on buffer strips along natural waters. 

The measure is expected to benefit more than 1,000 farmers and will run until December 31, 2025. The public support will take the form of direct grants and will be limited to a maximum of €500 per hectare of land per year for the first five years, and €200 per hectare of land per year for the following years. 

The Commission assessed the measure under the 2014 EU Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas and found that it is in line with the requirements of the Guidelines. In particular, it found that the aid is proportionate and that the measure contributes to the achievement of the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive, which constitute an objective of common interest. 

Furthermore, the measure goes beyond what is required to implement other EU legislation for the protection of water, such as the Nitrates Directive. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules.

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