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France: State aid to growers was illegal



The help that the French State granted to fruit and vegetable producers between 1992 and 2002, was illegal. This is what European Court decided. In total during this period more than 330 million was paid to French fruit and vegetable producers to soften the economic consequences of a temporary surplus production and to regularize the market.

The aid, under the name "plans de campagne", was paid from a fund which was managed by several committees which bring together agricultural organizations. This cash consisted of 30-50% of voluntary contributions from producers. According to the court however, it was Oniflhor a government institution, which unilaterally made ​​decisions on the financial measures for the "plans the campaign" and the committees had no input into the implementation.

In January 2009, the European Commission determined that the relevant State aid was incompatible with the common market rules. The Commission decided that all the money must be paid back. Both France and the Producers organisations Fedecom and Producteurs légumes de France lodged a complaint against the Commission's decision. The judgement by the European Court has, however, confirmed the decision of the European Commission.

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