Chr. Staikouras: Final settlement of five state aid recovery cases

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A multi-year pending case, which concerns the settlement of five cases of recovery of state aid, is closed by the Ministry of Finance, after many months of intensive work, with the publication of the relevant Ministerial Decisions.

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These are aids that were deemed incompatible with the internal market, based on decisions of the European Commission, as stated by the Minister of Finance, Chr. Staikouras.

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These are cases that correspond to a significant number of beneficiaries – farmers and businesses in border areas – who are now exempted from the obligation to return to the Greek State, and even with interest, the aid they had received many years ago, according to the Ministry of Culture.

In particular, the cases are as follows:

1. State aid granted to companies affected by the 2007 fires in prefectures of the country, in the form, on the one hand, of interest rate subsidies for loans for working capital and, on the other hand, of the provision of a guarantee by the Greek State. Beneficiaries of the interest rate subsidy were about 3,800 companies and the total amount of aid had risen to 193 million euros, while beneficiaries of state guarantees were 746 companies and the total guaranteed amount had reached 118 million euros. The EU requested the recovery of this aid, by decision issued in 2019.

2. State aid granted in the period 1994-2005 to border companies in the form of an interest rate subsidy, based on law 128/75 and the provision of guarantees by the Greek State. An amount of recoveries totaling approximately € 30 million is being settled for 21 companies.

3. Compensatory aid, amounting to approximately 450 million euros, granted by ELGA, in 2008 and 2009, to 700,000 farmers and which, by decision of the EU in 2012, were considered illegal and incompatible with the internal market and their recovery was ordered. Due to the country’s non-compliance with the recovery decision, the EU recently filed an appeal with the Court of Justice of the European Union, which convicted Greece of non-compliance with the recovery decision.

4. Undertaking and / or regulation by the State of debts of agricultural cooperative organizations, which, by decision of the EU in 2000, it was deemed illegal and irreconcilable state aid and their recovery was ordered. This decision was upheld by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2004. The case concerns 78 debtors and a total recovery amount of about 96 million euros.

5. State aid granted in 2008, in the form of interest rate subsidies and loan guarantees, to cooperatives and primary agricultural cooperatives, to be given to cereal producers. The recovery concerns an amount of approximately 15 million euros from 49 cooperatives. The EU by a decision of 2012, ratified by the Court of Justice of the European Union, ordered the recovery of the amounts, as illegal and incompatible state aid.

In the management of the last three cases, the contribution of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food was important.

“By resolving these issues, the government is proving once again that it is resolving long-standing issues in the best way for citizens – especially farmers – and the country, despite the adverse conditions created by the successive and successive crises we are experiencing.” , notes Mr. Staikouras.

Source: Capital

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