Brussels, 7th December 2006
State Aid: Commission authorises German regional investment aid scheme ‘Investitionszulagengesetz 2007’
The European Commission has decided that one of the largest German regional aid schemes, the 2007 investment premium law (‘Investitionszulagengesetz’), is in line with EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 87), as far as investment projects initiated in 2006 are concerned. The remainder of the scheme, concerning projects started after 2006, will be covered by the new block exemption Regulation for regional investment aid (see IP/06/1453) and so will be exempt from notification and will not need to be approved by the Commission.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "I am happy that the Commission has been able to endorse a scheme supporting investment activities in Eastern Germany and Berlin. And I would like to encourage other Member States to follow the example of Germany, and to use the new regional block exemption Regulation not only for routine cases but also for more ambitious projects, in order to reap all the benefits it offers."
In June 2006, Germany notified to the Commission a successor scheme to the aid measures foreseen under the current investment premium law, which provides for fiscal support to investment projects in the new German Länder and in Berlin. The annual budget of the 2007 investment premium law is estimated at €580 million.
The investment premium law supports initial investment projects in the manufacturing industry, production-related services and accommodation services carried out in the German Länder Berlin (as from 2007 only partially), Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen.
The decision adopted by the Commission covers those parts of the 2007 investment premium law that relate to initial investment projects started after publication of the law on 20 July 2006 and before the end of 2006. The application of the law to these projects fulfils the requirements of the 1998 Regional Aid Guidelines and is in line with the German regional aid map 2004-2006. In particular, the new law strengthens the provisions on the incentive effect of the measure.
Germany informed the Commission that it intended to apply the new block exemption Regulation for regional investment aid for the part of the 2007 investment premium law which relates to projects started after 31 December 2006. The 2007 investment premium law expires at the end of 2009.