State Aids

State aid: Commission exempts more aid measures from prior notification - 21/05/2014

The European Commission has adopted a revised General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) for state aid. The Regulation is part of the State Aid Modernisation (SAM), setting an ambitious reform program of state aid control fostering sustainable, smart and inclusive growth. One of the components of SAM is the increased flexibility given to Member States to grant state aid without prior notification and approval by the Commission, provided that certain conditions are met. The GBER sets out the categories of aid and the conditions under which aid measures can benefit from such an exemption. The Regulation will enter into force on 1 July 2014.

The key improvement for the WISEs sector is the new article 35 ‘Aid for compensating the costs of assistance provided to disadvantaged workers’!. You can have more info about the key improvements brought by the revised GBER, here. GBER regulation, here.

Consultation on a draft General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) on state aid measures - 12/02/2014

A first consultation on the draft GBER took place from 8 May to 28 June 2013 and, for the new exemption categories, between 24 July 2013 and 10 September 2013.

The revised draft presented in the current public consultation is a consolidated and revised version of the first drafts, taking account of the comments received in the consultation process so far. It includes new categories of exempted aid and further simplifies the assessment, thus reducing the administrative burden for Member States. The enlargement of the scope of the GBER and simplification will have to be balanced by increased transparency of aid measures and strengthened ex-post controls.

The Commission will adopt the final GBER by July 2014.

Ensie Contribution: 14/02/2014 - GBER here: English version

Contribution d'ENSIE: 14/02/2014 - GBER ici: version française

Conference 'Social Entrepreneurs, have your say!' - Strasbourg (France) - 16 & 17/01/2014

ENSIE attends the European conference "Social entrepreneurs: Have Your Say!"

More than two weeks ago several ENSIE’s members met during the European conference in Strasbourg. More than 2,000 participants from social entrepreneurs todecision-makers (Commission, Parliament, European Economic and Social Committee's representatives, Ministers) passing through academics and students met in Strasbourg to express their views on social entrepreneurship. This conference wanted to continue the activities of the Social Business Initiative that was launched two years ago by Vice-President Tajani, Commissioner Andor and Commissioner Barnier.

ENSIE tried to influence the debates being represented in many workshops.

Aurélie Duprés, ENSIE policy officer, was speaker in the workshop on Legal Aspect of Social Enterprises: Regulatory Framework, European forms, corporate governance - Part 4: Competition and State Aid:  Where are we today and what could/should be done?

You can find here some info concerning her contribution.

Consultation on additional categories for a revised draft General Block Exemption Regulation on state aid measures ('GBER II') - 10/09/2013

On 22 July 2013, the EU's Council of Ministers adopted the revision of the Enabling Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 994/98 which enabled the Commission to declare compatible with the internal market aid the following categories: small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), research and development, environmental protection, employment and training and regional aid) , which will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal. This adoption creates the legal basis for block exemptions in new categories: innovation; culture and heritage conservation; making good the damage caused by natural disasters; making good the damage caused by certain adverse weather conditions in fisheries; forestry; promotion of food sector products not listed in Annex I of the TFEU; conservation of marine and freshwater biological resources; sports; social aid for transport for residents of remote regions; certain broadband infrastructure; and infrastructure in support of the objectives of the Enabling Regulation and objectives of common interest.

 Ensie Contribution: English, French

Consultation on the second draft of the new de minimis Regulation replacing Regulation No 1998/2006 - 9/09/2013

Ensie Contribution: English, French

Consultation on a draft General Block Exemption Regulation (the GBER) on state aid measures - 28/06/2013

The review of the General block exemption Regulation ("GBER") is at the centre of the State Aid Modernisation (SAM) reform and shall contribute to all objectives, with particular focus on simplification. With about 2000 measures introduced since its entry into force, the current GBER has been extensively used by Member States. In 2011 aid under GBER amounted to EUR 17.2 billion, which represents 32.5% of aid granted to industry and services.

The review of the GBER will ensure that Member States and stakeholders have a clear set of rules as of 2014 as a reference point for the development of their policies and aid interventions. This will, in particular, be important for the expenditure under EU cohesion policy in the period 2014-2020, a significant part of which falls under the GBER.

Ensie Contribution: English, French

Consultation on the first draft of the new de minimis Regulation No 1998/2006 - 15/05/2013

The review of the de minimis Regulation (Regulation 1998/2006) represents an important component of the SAM initiative. According to the de minimis Regulation, aid measures below a certain ceiling are not State aid because they are considered to have no impact on competition and trade in the internal market. Those measures therefore do not have to be notified in advance to the Commission. The Regulation has greatly simplified the treatment of small aid measures and has resulted in legal certainty for granting authorities and for beneficiaries.

Ensie Contribution: English, French

Consultation on the General Block Exemption Regulation - 12/09/2012

State funding meeting the criteria of Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) constitutes state aid and requires notification to the Commission. However, according to Art 109 TFEU, the Council may determinecategories of aid that are exempt from the mandatory notification procedure set out in Article 108(3) TFEU. In application of Art 109 TFEU, the Council, by adopting Regulation (EC) No. 994/98 ('Enabling Regulation') enabled the Commission to declare compatible with the internal market and exempt from the notification procedure aid in the following categories: aid in favour of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), research, development and innovation (R&D&I), environmental protection, employment and training, and regional aid. On the basis of the Enabling Regulation, the Commission adopted the GBER, in force since 29 August 2008.

The GBER simplifies the procedures for aid granting authorities at national, regional or local level. It allows the granting of a range of measures with horizontal objectives considered to be in the common interest.

On 8th May 2012 the Commission adopted a Communication on State Aid Modernisation (SAM), setting out the objectives of an ambitious reform package. The modernisation of state aid control has three main, closely linked objectives:

  • Foster growth in a strengthened, dynamic and competitive internal market
  • Focus enforcement on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market
  • Streamlined rules and faster decisions

The review of the GBER constitutes an important element of SAM.

The GBER will expire on 31 December 2013. In this context, the present public consultation offers stakeholders the opportunity to provide input to the Commission at an early stage of policy making. Member States, other Institutions and stakeholders are invited to express their views on the GBER provisions currently applicable and to suggest possible amendments to these provisions.

Ensie Contribution: English, French

Consultation "The review of the State aid rules for services of general economic interest" - 11 October 2011

The European Commission publishes the proposals for the new texts regarding the application of state aid rules to Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) for consultation of Member States and stakeholders before submitting a final text to the College. The new rules are expected to be adopted by the end of January 2012. The Commission has already consulted extensively on the revision of the so-called Monti-Kroes package of rules applying to services that are of general interest but of economic nature, in other words where public and private sector cohabit.

In his speeches on the subject, Vice President Almunia has said that the main objective is to have clearer and simpler rules to make life easier for the public authorities and the service providers, to put less emphasis on local services that often involve small compensation amounts and focus more on the services that have a cross-border impact. He plans to extend the range of social services that are exempted from prior scrutiny - currently only hospitals and social housing benefit from such safe heaven - and to introduce a specific de minimis rule to exclude the very small and local services. The ultimate goal is to contribute to making services of general economic interest more efficient, including because public finances in many countries are in need of repair and taxpayers' money should be carefully spent.

ENSIE contribution: English, French

Consultation 'Draft General Block Exemption Regulation' - 28 March 2008

Consultation objective: simplification and better targeting of state aid for growth and jobs. Source: European Commission

ENSIE contribution: English, French

Fiscal facilities - VAT

Consultation on review of existing VAT legislation on public bodies and tax exemption in the public interest - 24/04/2014

The Commission adopted in December 2011 a Communication on the future of VAT  that sets out the fundamental characteristics that must underlie the new VAT regime, and priority actions needed to create a simpler, more efficient and more robust VAT system in the EU.

One of the priority areas in this regard is the review and possible revision of the VAT rules on the public sector including the special rules for public bodies and the tax exemptions in the public interest. To prepare the ground for a possible future legislative initiative in this area the European Commission launched two economic studies and had discussions in January 2013 with Member States within the Group on the future of VATand with VAT experts within the VAT expert Group; furthermore a Fiscalis stakeholder conference on this issue was held in Italy in April 2013.

In the context of the preparation of an impact assessment on this issue, the European Commission is launching this public consultation to give all interested stakeholders a further opportunity to express their views on the issue.

 Ensie Contribution: 24/04/2014 - VAT here: English version, French version.

Consultation on Review of existing legislation on VAT reduced rates - 04 January 2013

The Commission in December 2011 adopted a Communication on the future of VAT that sets out the fundamental characteristics that must underlie the new VAT regime, and priority actions needed to create a simpler, more efficient and more robust VAT system in the EU.

One of the priority actions is a review of the current VAT rates structure, based on the following guiding principles:

  1. Abolition of those reduced rates which constitute an obstacle to the proper functioning of the internal market. Reduced rates justified in the past can have distorting effects today because the economic, business and legal environments have changed in the meantime;
  2. Abolition of reduced rates on goods and services whose consumption is discouraged by other EU policies. This could notably be the case for goods and services harmful to the environment, health and welfare;
  3. Similar goods and services should be subject to the same VAT rate and progress in technology should be taken into account in this respect, so that the challenge of convergence between the on-line and the physical environment is addressed.

The Commission services have made a first evaluation of the current VAT rates structure and the goods and services mentioned hereafter are the ones which require to be examined further in the light of the above three guiding principles.

With this public consultation, the Commission services are now seeking the opinion of stakeholders.

Ensie Contribution: English, French

Consultation "VAT - Review of existing legislation on reduced rates" - 6 March 2008

The consultation is based on a document that sets out the current Community legal framework for VAT reduced rates and the context of the ongoing political debate. Source: European Commission

ENSIE contribution