State aid: Commission approves €200 million investment scheme for processing and marketing of agricultural products in Ireland

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Irish scheme to support long-term capital investments in the primary food processing sector. The investment scheme, which will have a budget of €200 million for the period 2020-2025, will take the form of grants and will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies engaged in the processing and marketing of agricultural products. The scheme aims at strengthening the Irish agri-sector by promoting greater product and market diversification. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the EU Agricultural State aid rules. It found that the aid is limited to the minimum necessary and will encourage innovative investments that would not occur in the absence of the public support. Furthermore, the measure will contribute to the EU objectives of ensuring a viable food production and promoting intelligent and sustainable growth, without unduly distorting competition and trade. The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme is in line with EU Agricultural State aid rules. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case number SA.55469 once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.