The subsidies of 22,000 farmers have been saved from seizure to pay off outstanding debts by new legislation passed last week that protects farm subsidies up to the amount of 7,500 euros, Rural Development and Foods Minister Stavros Arachovitis noted in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Friday.
“From this morning the money is available in the bank for approximately 22,000 eligible farmers whose accounts would have been seized, withheld or deducted under the previous regime,” he said.
“The one-week delay in relation to other farmers, whose subsidies amounting to more than 850 million euros were paid into their accounts on the night of Thursday, December 20, was due to the fact that the amendment in question had to be passed and published in the Government Gazette before payment was made, so that the new unseizable limit of 7,500 euros could apply. As of December 24 it is now a law of the state,” he added.
Arachovitis said that the payments made on Friday did not exceed eight million euros but were a vital injection of liquidity for the farmers involved. He noted that this protection for farming subsidies existed alongside the unseizable limit of 1,250 euros each month for each bank account, creating a potential unseizable amount of 15,000 euros plus 7,500 euros on an annual basis.
“This measure covers the entirety of the subsidy for 90 pct of farmers, a percentage that corresponds to the sum total of small and medium-sized farms. In addition, those receiving subsidies in excess of 7,500 euros have protection up to that amount,” he noted.
The measure for the annual unseizable limit will take effect from December 10, 2018 and for every calender year, he added.
According to the minister, protection of various types of compensation also existed by interested parties would have to contact their local bank branch for more information.