Brüssel, den 20. Juli 2010
State aid: Commission maintains higher regional aid ceilings for Hainaut (Belgium), Dytiki Makedonia and Kentriki Makedonia (Greece), and Basilicata (Italy)
The European Commission has decided, under EU state aid rules, to allow the regions of Hainaut in Belgium, Dytiki Makedonia and Kentriki Makedonia in northern Greece, and Basilicata in southern Italy, to continue to award regional aid at a basic intensity of 30 % from 1 January 2011 onwards. As from that date, the regional aid ceiling applicable in the 12 other regions that were allowed to maintain higher regional aid ceilings because their GDP per capita had been increased only artificially after the accession of ten Member States on 1 May 2004 (so-called statistical effect regions), which are located Germany, Greece, Spain, Austria, Portugal and the UK, will be reduced from 30 % to 20 %. This decision is based on a review of statistical data on GDP provided by Eurostat.
“While, in the majority of regions, the level of GDP per capita has increased in relation to the EU average, for some regions where economic growth has worsened in comparison to the EU as a whole it is justified to maintain higher levels of regional aid” said Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of Competition Policy.
The EU Treaty distinguishes between two types of assisted areas in the context of regional aid. Article 107(3)(a) identifies certain regions as eligible for regional aid because they have a GDP per capita below 75 % of the EU average. According to the Commission Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-2013 (see IP/05/1653 and MEMO/05/491), these regions may grant aid ranging generally between 30% and 50% of eligible investment costs. Regions eligible on the basis of Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty are identified on the basis of various criteria, and have an aid intensity ceiling ranging from 10 % to 20 %.
The Guidelines also identify so-called ‘statistical effect regions’ which cover regions whose GDP per capita was below 75 % of the EU-15, but which, due to the enlargement of the EU to 10 new Member States in 2004, have witnessed a purely statistical increase in their GDP per capita, over the threshold of 75 % of the EU-25 average.
These regions were eligible for regional aid under Article 107(3)(a) of the EU Treaty until 31 December 2010, with an aid intensity of 30 % for large enterprises (respectively 50 % or 40 % for small and medium-sized enterprises). After that date, they were to become eligible under Article 107(3)(c), with an aid ceiling of 20 % for the period 2011-2013, unless a GDP review to be carried out by the Commission in 2010 showed that their economic situation had degraded to such an extent that their GDP per capita had again fallen below 75 % of the EU-25 average.
According to the most recent Eurostat data (see table in Annex), four regions in three Member States have a GDP per capita (in purchasing power standards calculated as a three year average) below the threshold of 75 % of the EU-25 average and will maintain their regional aid ceiling of 30 % until the end of 2013: Hainaut in Belgium, Kentriki Makedonia and Dytiki Makedonia in Greece, and Basilicata in Italy. Twelve statistical effect regions in six Member States have a GDP per capita above the 75 % threshold and will see their maximum regional aid intensity reduced from 30 % to 20 %: these regions are Brandenburg-Südwest, Lüneburg, Leipzig and Halle in Germany, Attiki in Greece, Asturias, Murcia, Ceuta and Melilla in Spain, Burgenland in Austria, Algarve in Portugal, and the Highlands and Islands in the UK.
GDP in PPS per capita, calculated as a three year average (2005-2007) (EU-25 = 100)