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Categories of aid compatible with the common market

The Commission may exempt some categories of State aid from the obligation of notification. This regulation simplifies and consolidates the European Union (EU) regulations for exempted aid. It considerably widens the field of application of the exemptions, improves transparency of aid measures and strengthens the efficiency of inspections.

ACT

Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008 of 6 August 2008 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the common market in application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty (General block exemption Regulation) (Text with EEA relevance).

SUMMARY

In accordance with Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Article 87 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)) and Regulation 994/98, the Commission may declare some State aid as being compatible with the common market and exempt it from the obligation to notify laid down in Article 108 TFEU (ex-Article 88 TEC).

This regulation thus defines the criteria for compatibility and the conditions for exemption from the obligation to notify laid down for some categories of State aid, in line with Regulation 994/98/EC.

Scope

In order to be exempted from the obligation to notify, the categories of aid concerned must conform to all the conditions in Chapter I of this regulation (specifically they must have an incentive effect and conform to transparency criteria) and the relevant provisions of Chapter II (intensity of the aid, eligible costs, maximum amount of aid). They must, moreover, expressly refer to the provisions of the latter. The categories of aid covered are the following:

  • regional aid, allocated according to the map for regional aid in the period 2007-2013. They are targeted at investment and employment, as well as newly-created small enterprises in regions that are eligible for the derogations provided for in Article 107 TFEU;
  • SME investment and employment aid;
  • aid for the creation of small enterprises by women;
  • aid for the protection of the environment, in particular those allowing enterprises to go beyond Community standards *, taking the form of tax reductions or encouraging investment in energy saving and the promotion of renewable energy;
  • aid in favour of SMEs, to allow them to benefit from consultancy services and participation in fairs;
  • risk capital aid, for participation or management of a profit driven private equity investment fund, managed on a commercial basis;
  • aid for research, development and innovation, in particular concerning cooperation between research organisations and enterprises, intellectual property rights costs for SMEs, innovation support or the loan of highly qualified staff;
  • training aid;
  • aid for disadvantaged or disabled workers.

Intensity and cumulation of aid

The amount of individual aid * exempted from notification, granted on an "ad hoc" * basis or under a scheme * are limited by fixed thresholds. Beyond these thresholds, individual aid must be notified to the Commission. The regulation also gives details of the intensities * of maximum aid for each category of aid.

Aid mentioned here may be cumulated with any other State aid exempted from notification as long as those aid measures concern different identifiable eligible costs. Nevertheless, aid exempted under this regulation cannot be cumulated with any other aid exempted under this regulation, de minimis aid or with other EU funding for the same eligible costs if this cumulation leads to an intensity or amount of aid which is higher than the thresholds fixed by this regulation.

Transparency and monitoring of aid measures

EU countries shall inform the Commission of the entry into force of an aid scheme or exempted ad hoc aid within twenty working days using the form given in Annex III of the regulation. Moreover, all of the information relating to these measures will be made public.

The Commission will monitor aid measures. It can request access to detailed records including full and detailed information on beneficiaries, conditions of award, eligible costs and the incentive effect of aid. If this information is not communicated, the Commission may adopt a decision making the notification of future aid measures mandatory.

Context

For the purposes of simplification and transparency, this regulation replaces Regulation 70/2001 on aid to small and medium-sized enterprises, Regulation 2204/2002 concerning aid for employment, Regulation 68/2001 on training aid and Regulation 1628/2006 on national regional aid. It shall apply until 31 December 2013.

Key Terms used in the act
  • Aid schemes: any provision on the basis of which aid may be granted on an individual basis or without being related to a specific project, to one or several enterprises, for an indeterminate period and/or for an indeterminate amount.
  • Individual aid: ad hoc aid and aid awarded on the basis of an aid scheme must be notified.
  • Ad hoc aid: individual aid which is not awarded on the basis of an aid scheme.
  • Aid intensity: the amount of aid expressed as a percentage of the eligible costs.
  • Community environmental standard: a mandatory standard setting the levels to be attained in environmental terms by individual undertakings; or the obligation to use the best techniques available.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation 800/2008/EC

29.8.2008

-

OJ L 214 of 9.8.2008

Last updated: 17.10.2011

See also

  • For further information please consult the European Commission DG Competition website
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