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"Not enough, too little, too late"

NL: Energy Cost Contribution scheme max €62,000 state aid for horticulturists

A couple of weeks ago, Economy Minister Adriaansens clarified the long-awaited Energy Cost Contribution (TEK) scheme for energy-intensive SMEs. SMEs whose energy costs correspond to at least 12.5% of the turnover will receive compensation of up to €160,000. For horticulturalists, 'in line with European state aid rules,' a lower maximum applies, namely €62,000 (but soon to be a bit more, namely € 93,000, according to Glastuinbouw Nederland). This scheme applies 'retroactively from November', meaning that any payouts will only be made from April next year. Between €1.6 billion and €3.1 billion will be released for the TEK. Moreover, a 'threshold price' has been set, meaning that entrepreneurs must first pay a minimum of 1.19 euro per cubic meter of gas and 0.35 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity to be eligible for support at all.

Just about all industry associations, from the big VNO-NCW to florists and from farmers to, of course, horticulture, are unanimous in their findings: not enough, too little, and too late. Not every SME will reach the 12.5% threshold, for instance, and for the average horticulturist, the amounts set are a joke, and, all things being equal, entire subsectors of horticulture have been decimated. Reference is also made to lagging behind our neighboring countries. From the EU, a support framework of up to €2 million per company is said to have been set, a framework also used by the German government, for example.


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