9 februari: Commissie publiceert resultaten raadpleging Actieplan Staatssteun


9 februari: Commissie publiceert resultaten raadpleging Actieplan Staatssteun


Brussels, 9 th February 2006

State aid: reform plan endorsed by stakeholders

The European Commission has published the results of the public consultation on the State Aid Action Plan. The consultation generated a lot of interest with more than 130 submissions and showed that stakeholders broadly endorse the principles and practical proposals set out in the document. The Commission will take these submissions into account in its ongoing work in reforming state aid rules.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "I am pleased to see support for state aid policy reform. The Commission is determined to assist Member States towards less and better targeted aid".

In June 2005, the Commission published its State Aid Action Plan for public consultation (see IP/05/680 and MEMO/05/195). The document outlined the guiding principles for a comprehensive reform of state aid rules over the next five years. In particular the document set out how the Commission intends to use the EC Treaty's state aid rules to encourage Member States to contribute to the Strategy for Growth and Jobs by focussing aid on improving the competitiveness of EU industry, creating sustainable jobs, ensuring social and regional cohesion, and improving public services. The Commission also made proposals to simplify and rationalise the current rules, and reduce the administrative burden, so that less aid has to be notified and decision-making is accelerated.

The European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee were also consulted and either have issued or will shortly issue reports about state aid reform. Stakeholders generally support the proposals made in the Action Plan and agree on the guiding principles for reform.

As regards the state aid rules themselves, most comments focused on:

  • the revision of rules applicable to state aid for R&D and innovation
  • the proposal to create a general block exemption regulation which will authorise state aid without a need to notify the measure to the Commission
  • the review of the regulation specifying the amount below which a subsidy is not considered state aid (the de minimis regulation)
  • the new rules on services of general economic interest and regional aid, which were adopted in 2005.

Other issues which were also systematically addressed in stakeholders' replies include the need to further develop the economic approach in state aid policy with a view to contribute to less and better target aid.

Reform of State Aid Policy has already begun:

  • a package of measures on services of general economic interest was adopted in July 2005 (see IP/05/937)
  • a consultation on State Aid and Innovation was launched in September (see IP/05/1169 and MEMO/05/333) and
  • new regional aid guidelines for 2007-2013 were adopted in December (see IP/05/1653 and MEMO/05/491).

The Commission will continue with its reform programme over the coming months. It aims to publish:

  • new guidelines for risk capital and for R&D & Innovation (around summer 2006) and
  • new regulations regarding de minimis aid (by the end of 2006).

The results will be available via: