The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, a Romanian scheme worth €200 million (RON 998 million) to compensate forest owners for timber not cut due to mandatory ecological requirements. The scheme aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, improve ecosystem services and preserve habitats and landscapes.
Under the scheme, which will run until 31 December 2027, aid will take the form of direct grants to private forest owners. The amount of aid per beneficiary will be calculated on the basis of the average price of a cubic metre of standing timber and the average annual volume of unharvested forest per hectare per year.
The Commission assessed the scheme under EU state aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) TFEU, which allows Member States to support the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions, and the 2022 Guidelines for State aid in the agriculture and forestry sector and in rural areas. The Commission considered that the scheme was necessary and appropriate to support the development of the forestry sector. Finally, the Commission concluded that the scheme was proportionate, being limited to the minimum necessary, and that it would have a limited impact on competition and trade between Member States. On this basis, the Commission authorised the Romanian scheme under EU state aid rules.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.107567 in the State Aid Register on the Commission’s Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.