Nieuwsbericht | 08-03-2006
Brussels, 9 th March 2006
The European Commission is proposing to exempt more small subsidies from the notification obligation under EC Treaty state aid rules. This is part of a wider initiative, the State Aid Action Plan, designed to simplify the state aid rules and refine the economic analysis of subsidies. The Commission proposes raising the ceiling of the current "de minimis" Regulation from €100,000 to €150,000. Subsidies which do not exceed this threshold are not state aid and do not require prior notification to the Commission. The proposal also contains a number of safeguards to prevent abusive use of the provisions. Member States will be invited to comment on the proposal before it is definitively adopted by the Commission.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "I am determined to modernise and improve state aid rule across the board. Further measures to simplify, consolidate and expand the current block exemptions are also under way. This package will allow Member States more flexibility to provide better targeted aid, in particular in favour of SMEs".
According to the current de minimis regulation, financial support not exceeding €100.000 over a period of 3 years in favour of a given company is deemed to have no substantial effect on competition and trade between Member States, and therefore not to constitute state aid. The increase of the ceiling to €150.000 takes into account inflation and GDP growth in the EU since the de minimis ceiling was last increased. The current proposal also extends the scope of application, under certain conditions, to the marketing and processing of agricultural products. In line with earlier Commission proposals and, more particularly, the new draft for a block exemption covering certain types of regional aid, the scope of the de minimis rule will be limited to transparent types of aid, for which it is possible to determine in advance the precise aid amount they include.
This draft will be sent to the Member States for the first consultation, in order to allow them to comment. Further consultations during June till November of both Member States and other interested parties will take place, according to the procedures foreseen in Council Regulation (EC) 994/98. The proposal will be available at:
The de minimis proposal forms part of the Commission's implementation of its June 2005 State Aid Action Plan (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 EC Treaty state aid rules to encourage Member States to contribute to the Strategy for Growth and Jobs by reducing overall aid levels while focusing remaining aid on improving the competitiveness of EU industry, creating sustainable jobs, ensuring social and regional cohesion, and improving public services.