State aid: Commission approves €120 million Spanish scheme to support transformation and modernisation of greenhouses

The European Commission has found that a €120 million Spanish scheme made available through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for supporting the comprehensive transformation or modernisation of greenhouses producing vegetables, cut flowers and ornamental plants, is in line with EU State aid rules. The notified scheme will be funded via the RRF, following the Commission’s positive assessment of the Spanish recovery and resilience plan and its adoption by the Council. The scheme, which will run until 31 December 2023, aims at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of primary producers of vegetables, cut flowers and ornamental plants, by supporting their ecological transition. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants and will target investments aimed at structural and energy efficiency improvements. The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular the Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas, which enable Member States to grant aid to ensure viable food production and to promote the efficient and sustainable use of resources in order to achieve intelligent and sustainable growth. The Commission concluded that the aid facilitates the development of an economic activity and does not adversely affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. Therefore, the Commission has found that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules. All investments and reforms entailing State aid included in the national recovery plans presented in the context of the RRF must be notified to the Commission for prior approval, unless covered by one of the State aid block-exemption rules. The Commission will assess such measures as a matter of priority and has provided guidance and support to Member States in the preparatory phases of the national plans, to facilitate the rapid deployment of the RRF. At the same time, the Commission makes sure in its decision that the applicable State aid rules are complied with, in order to preserve the level playing field in the Single Market and ensure that the RRF funds are used in a way that minimises competition distortions and do not crowd out private investment. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.64328 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.