ANNOUNCEMENT 27 Oct 2009In October 2009, the government of France announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
1) Speech of Nicolas Sarkozy in the Jura, Eastern France, on 27 October 2009 (http://www.elysee.fr/accueil/)
2) Speech of Fran?ois Fillon at the French National Assembly on 27 October 2009 (http://www.gouvernement.fr/premier-ministre/agriculture-un-plan-pour-apporter-une-reponse-globale-a-une-crise-globale)
On 27 October 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled the EUR 1.65 billion rescue package for French farmers coping with considerable cutbacks of revenues - not only due to the current economic downturn, but also due to a fundamental structural crisis in the agricultural sector. He emphasised that this aid is put in place to defend the 'French national identity'.
The financing plan consists of EUR 1 billion subsidized bank loans with 1 or 1.5 % interest rates and EUR 650 million in land and energy tax cuts as well as reduced social charges.
In his speech in the Jura, eastern France, Mr. Sarkozy insisted that the plan would not break EU rules on state aid and subsidized loans and would cost the French state only EUR 60 million. He highlighted that the package will be effective starting from next week and all loans are supposed to be allocated by the end of this year.
Moreover, he disagrees with the European Commission for hesitating to help dairy farmers suffering from a fall in milk prices and he reveals the French stance towards agricultural policy to be in great contrast to the EU position of overhauling and scaling back subsidies (see also GTA measure on France - New subsidies for the fruits and vegetables sector): Mr Sarkozy aims for a more regulated European agricultural sector and announced to firstly put in place a dairy sector regulation in early 2010 and secondly to come up with a draft of a law for the modernisation of the agricultural sector mentioning particularly the problem of the French workforce not being competitive even within the big EU countries.
The new measures provides support to producers in a sector where international trade is possible. The measure financially favours French farmers over foreign farmers.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.