10 September 1999

Belgian state aid for dioxin victims

BELGIAN livestock producers hit by the recent dioxin crisis are to receive preferential loans to help keep their businesses afloat.

The EU Commission ruled this week that a scheme, which involves 50% funding by the state and 50% from the Belgian Bank Association, was an acceptable state aid, needed to prevent the collapse of basically sound agricultural businesses.

Eligibility is restricted to holdings which experienced more than a 25% decline in farm revenue during June and July. Individual units are limited to a maximum BFr5m (£82,000) loan, with interest charges below base rates.

The scheme as a whole may not exceed BFr25bn (£410m).