The European Commission has announced today (7 July) that EU member states can grant aid for food production research projects without having to ask its permission.

Brussels currently controls such subsidies but, under the new proposals, food companies would be able to request 100% funding of projects from their national governments, although they would have to publish the results on the Internet for five years.

The studies would also have to be of general interest to other players within a sub-sector.

These rights will come into force within weeks because the Commission has the authority to create them without referring to member states and the European Parliament.

EU competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "These new rules…allow member states to grant aid targeted at creating jobs, boosting competitiveness".