Brussels, 13th October 2006
The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules the regional aid maps covering the period 2007-2013 for Luxembourg and Malta. These decisions form part of a wider exercise to review regional aid systems in all Member States (see IP/06/1176) in accordance with the new Regional Aid Guidelines (see IP/05/1653 and MEMO/05/491) adopted in December 2005. The new guidelines aim at re-focussing regional aid on the most deprived regions of the enlarged EU, while allowing to improve competitiveness and to provide for a smooth transition. The maps of seven other Member States have already been approved by the Commission (see IP/06/1176).
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “The approved regional aid maps support our cohesion policy and contribute to the State Aid Action Plan’s objective of less and better targeted aid. Luxembourg and Malta will now be able to organise a smooth transition from their current regional aid system towards their regional development strategies for 2007-2013.”
A regional aid map defines the regions of a Member State eligible for national regional investment aid for large enterprises under EC Treaty state aid rules and establishes the maximum permitted levels of such aid in the eligible regions. The adoption of the regional aid map for the Member State concerned is a pre-condition to ensure the continuity of the regional policy and Structural Fund programmes after 2006, as all current maps will expire on 31.12.2006. If no new regional aid map is approved by the Commission before 1.1.2007, the Member State in question will not be able to grant any regional aid within its territory..
Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty foresees the possibility to grant regional state aid to promote the economic development of areas where the standard of living is abnormally low or where there is serious underemployment. The Regional Aid Guidelines define this type of regions as having a GDP below 75% of the Community average. In line with these principles, the entire territory of Malta will continue to be eligible for regional investment aid at a maximum aid intensity of 30% of the eligible costs.
Article 87(3)(c) of the EC-Treaty foresees the possibility to grant regional
state aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or of
certain economic areas where such aid does note adversely affect trading
conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. The regional aid
guidelines define this type of regions as areas of a Member State which are
disadvantaged in relation to the national average. As these regions are less
disadvantaged than areas covered by Article 87(3)(a), both the geographical
scope and the aid intensity are strictly limited. In line with these principles,
16% of Luxemburg’s population remain eligible for regional investment aid
at a maximum aid intensity of 10% of the eligible costs.
For further details of the Luxembourg and Malta regional aid maps, see MEMO/06/376.