Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission
The Commission has initiated an infringement procedure against Ireland concerning the application of a reduced rate of VAT on supplies of race horses and greyhounds. The case has been referred to the Court of Justice on 2 March 2011 (C-108/11).
As regards the nature of Ireland's approved or block exempted state aid schemes for animal breeding, public information on all schemes — including the legal basis, budget, aid intensity and duration — is available on the official Internet site for state aid in DG Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission(1). Any other support granted to horse and greyhound breeders by a Member State should comply with the applicable agricultural state aid rules(2).
With regard to the investigation into the funding of prize money, grants to greyhound racetrack owners and funding of greyhound stadiums, the Commission is analysing the information recently submitted by the Irish authorities. The decisions taken by the Commission at the end of the preliminary examination are published in the Official Journal and on its website.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1857/2006 of 15 December 2006 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty to state aid to small and medium-sized enterprises active in the production of agricultural products and amending Regulation (EC) No 70/2001 in OJ L 358, 16.12.2006, p. 3 and Community Guidelines for State Aid in the agriculture and forestry sector 2007 to 2013 (2006/C 319/01), in OJ C 319, 27.12.2006.