Brussels, 14 Mars 2000
Commission approves regional aid map for West German regions and Berlin for 1 January 2000 to December 2003.
The European Commission has approved the regional aid map for the period 1 January 2000 until 31 December 2003 concerning the City of Berlin and several regions in West-Germany. These regions are declared eligible under Article 87(3)(c) EC-Treaty and the maximum aid intensities for regional aid (as defined by Community law) are laid down. In July last year, the Commission had already decided that the five new Länder are eligible under Article 87(3)(a) EC-Treaty and their respective aid intensities were laid down also for the period 1 January 2000 until 31 December 2003. Both decisions together form the so-called regional aid map of Germany and respect the maximum population ceiling of 34,9 % as fixed by the Commission for that Member State.
In April 1999 Germany notified its regional aid map, i.e. the map defining those regions in which regional State aid in the sense of the Guidelines on national regional aid according to Article 87(3)(a) or (c) EC-Treaty can be granted. The notification also fixed the maximum aid intensities in these regions.
In July 1999 the Commission declared the notification compatible with the common market according to Article 87(3)(a) as far as East-Germany is concerned and opened a formal state aid investigation procedure according to Article 88(2) in relation to the City of Berlin as well as several regions in West-Germany.
The doubts as formulated by the Commission in its decision to open the investigation procedure have now all been dispelled. Therefore, the Commission was able to take a positive decision and declare the City of Berlin as well as several regions in West-Germany, together with their respective maximum aid intensities, compatible with the common market according to the rules of State aid.
The Commission limited the maximum aid intensities in West-Germany to 10 % net grant equivalent (NGE) and a 10% gross supplement for SMEs for the regions Hameln-Pyrmont, Stadt Hof and Stadt Passau. For the remaining eligible regions in West-Germany, except the City of Berlin the maximum intensities are 18 % NGE and a 10% gross supplement for SMEs. For the City of Berlin they are 20% NGE and a 10% gross supplement for SMEs.
Additionally, Germany gave an undertaking to the effect that the following maximum aid intensities in gross will not be exceeded: For all eligible regions in West-Germany, except for the labour market region of Berlin 28% (gross) for SMEs and 18% (gross) for large undertakings; for the labour market region of Berlin 43% (gross) for SMEs and 28% (gross) for large undertakings.
The regional aid maps for all Member States expired on 31 December 1999, with the entry into force of new guidelines which introduced a stricter method for establishing the eligible regions and the maximum aid intensities allowed in each region. These guidelines apply for the period 2000-2006. The German authorities, however, submitted a notification for four years (2000-2003) only; for the remaining three years they would have to notify a new map in due time.
The overall situation as to the new regional aid maps is that the Commission has so far approved the maps for Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Finland and France entirely and for Italy and Portugal for part of their territory. The proposed maps of the other Member States are still under examination.