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Nieuwsbericht | 16-10-2006
Brussels, 17th October 2006
State aid: Commission to propose to the Council simplification of exemption procedures for certain types of state aid
The Commission has invited interested parties to comment on its draft proposal to the Council that greater use be made of the scope provided for in Article 89 of the EC Treaty to exempt certain categories of state aid from the prior notification requirement, so as to include culture, heritage conservation and damage caused by natural disasters. Similar and more targeted arrangements will be proposed for the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products and for aid having a social character in the transport sector. The proposals should make it possible to eliminate some notifications and speed up decision making. The proposals are in line with the State Aid Action Plan (see IP/05/680and MEMO/05/195), the Commission's Lisbon strategy and its goal of better regulation. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments to the Commission by the deadline of 9 November 2006.
Council Regulation (EC) No 994/98 of 7 May 1998 on the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the Treaty (now Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty) already authorises the Commission to exempt, by means of regulations, certain categories of aid from the notification requirement. These include low-budget aid ("de minimis" aid), aid for small and medium-sized enterprises, aid for research and development, aid for environmental protection, aid for employment and training, and regional aid.
The Commission will ask the Council to empower it to adopt new exemptions from notification for aid in the following areas:
Culture and heritage conservation – the notification of such aid can often generate a substantial workload for the Commission and the Member States even though it often involves routine cases with low budgets.
Natural disasters – in recent years, a number of natural disasters have occurred in Europe; in such emergency situations, it is important for Member States to be able to decide on and disburse aid rapidly to firms concerned.
The production, processing and marketing of agricultural products – while SMEs are already exempted, experience has shown that the Commission is receiving numerous notifications of agricultural aid for large undertakings, even though the budget is low.
Aid having a social character in the transport sector – the Commission has found that, so long as the principle of non-discrimination is complied with, such aid does not raise any particular difficulties.
The Commission also wishes to streamline procedures and reduce bureaucracy by the following means:
The draft proposal has been sent to the Member States for consultation. Interested parties may submit comments up to 9 November 2006. The text will be available on the Europa website:
http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/state_a id/overview/sar.html Comments may be sent by email to:
The Commission intends to present the proposal in December 2006. The proposal will then be sent to the Council of Ministers for adoption by qualified majority, and to the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for their opinions.