Brussels, 28 September 2012
State aid: Commission prolongs guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty
The European Commission has prolonged EU guidelines on state aid for the rescue and restructuring of companies in financial difficulty. The Commission is currently reflecting on a review of the guidelines in the context of the recently launched state aid modernisation (SAM) initiative (see IP/12/458) and will launch in due time a public consultation on reform proposals.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, said: "So as not to pre-empt the results of the on-going discussions on the modernisation of our state aid regime, the Commission has decided to continue to apply the current Guidelines until the new rules are adopted."
The current guidelines were adopted in 2004 (see MEMO/04/172) and prolonged a first time in July 2009. They were due to expire on 9 October 2012. The validity of the guidelines is now extended until the Commission has adopted new rules, following the current review process in the context of the SAM initiative.
On 8 May 2012 the Commission adopted a Communication on State Aid Modernisation (SAM, see IP/12/458), setting out the objectives of an ambitious reform package. In the broader context of the EU's agenda to foster growth, state aid policy should focus on facilitating well-designed aid targeted at market failures and objectives of common European interest. The Commission also aims at focusing its enforcement activities on cases with the biggest impact on the EU's Single Market, streamlining rules and accelerating decisions. The Communication identifies a number of actions with a view to implementing these objectives. The main elements of the reform shall be in place by the end of 2013.
In this framework, the Commission is currently working on a proposal for revised rescue and restructuring guidelines. Member States and stakeholders will be given the opportunity to submit comments on the draft in the course of a forthcoming public consultation. In light of the submissions received, the Commission will then adopt the new rules.
The rescue & restructuring guidelines do not apply to public support granted to financial institutions during the crisis. These are covered by a set of temporary state aid rules as long as market conditions require (see IP/11/1488).
To consult the full text of the rescue & restructuring guidelines, click here.