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Commission approves €742 million Czech state aid scheme to support sustainable forest management




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The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, a €742 million (CZK 17.4 billion) Czech scheme to support sustainable forest management. The measure will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Common agricultural policy by strengthening forest environmental protection.

Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants to small, medium and large forest owners and other entities with similar rights and obligations, including State-owned entities. In particular, the direct grants will support: (i) operations designed to prevent the soil erosion on deforested stands; (ii) the protection of forest biodiversity; and (iii) the protection of the structure and composition of forest soil. Eligible beneficiaries will receive an aid amount equal to around €0.18 (CZK 4.22) per day per hectare of forest land. This amount will cover up to 100% of the eligible costs.

The Commission assessed the scheme under EU state aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU') , which allows member states to support the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions, and under the 2022 Guidelines for state aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas (‘2022 Agricultural Guidelines'). On this basis, the Commission approved the Czech scheme under EU state aid rules.

Commissioner Didier Reynders (pictured), in charge of competition policy, said: “Today, we approved a €742 million scheme which will enable Czechia to support sustainable forest management, ensuring that forests are resilient to climate change. The measure will contribute to achieving the EU environmental and climate-related objectives, without unduly distorting competition.”

A press release is available online.

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