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President sends law on state aid for pig farms to CCR

President Klaus Iohannis has notified the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on Monday over the law on the state aid for pig farms, but also over the law on the aid for poultry sector.

The Romanian President argues that the European Commission is the only institution to decide if the law is compliant with the EU norms in the state aid and competition sector.

Iohannis says that the simple notification of the European Commission over a state aid scheme, as the criticized law is stipulating, does not equate with a Commission’s go-ahead.

The head of state also claims that, according to the Constitution, Romania’s economy is a free market economy, based on the free initiative and competition, while the state must provide the freedom of the commerce, to protect the loyal competition and to create a favorable framework to capitalize all production factors.

In June last year, the European Commission recommended the Romanian authorities to use other means to help the domestic pig farms, as the state aid programme notified by the Agriculture Ministry would violate the European legislation.

The quoted sources said the EC has contacted the Romanian authorities regarding the proposal for state aid. The EC has shown that the aid would violate the European regulations in the field of state aid and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In early 2017 the Agriculture Ministry initiated a draft emergency ordinance providing that pig meat producers would have benefited by state aid of EUR 10,000.

Also in June 2017, President Klaus Iohannis has sent to parliament, for review, the law regarding the programme for pig meat in Romanian farms, which includes the state aid, claiming the document was adopted by ignoring the European regulations.

The local media reported that the law on the state aid for the pig farms is actually dedicated to Salcia pig farm, owned by the son of Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the ruling Social Democrat Party.

Ilie Dragne, the manager of the Salcia pig farm, was arrested in August last year in a tax evasion file, with the prejudice mounting to EUR 9 million.

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