The European Commission this week authorised Germany (Bavaria) to pay aid worth a total of € 3.5 million in the year 2002 for the introduction of a new quality label.
For the years 2003 and 2004, an annual budget of more than € 2 million has been approved.
"I support this initiative. This quality label is part of an extensive quality assurance and control programme, which has been introduced in order to recover consumer confidence after a significant drop in beef sales following the BSE crisis," said Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries this week.
Access to the quality label is open for all enterprises in the European Union, if they comply with the programme requirements. The aid aims to cover the cost of several individual measures such as the control and certification of companies participating in the programme, information measures designed to explain the label and its performance to the consumer, sales promotion actions and advertising measures.
The Commission has authorised this aid on the basis of new guidelines for state aid for the advertising of agricultural products, which entered into force on 1 January 2002. These guidelines allow, for the first time, joint information about product quality and product origin on a single label. The label, for which the Commission will now grant state aid, allows producers from all over the EU to indicate the respective origin of their products.