Brussels, 2 May 2013
State aid: Commission authorises public co-financing of Uppsala arena in Sweden
The European Commission has concluded that the proposed public co-financing of a new multi-purpose arena in Uppsala, Sweden was in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission found that the public funding was both proportional to the objective pursued and limited to the minimum necessary to attain that objective.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia observed: "Citizens' access to sport and cultural facilities is an important policy objective of the EU. The public funding for Uppsala arena furthers this goal without causing undue distortions of competition."
In 2011, Sweden notified plans to support the construction of a new multi-purpose arena in Uppsala by the Municipality of Uppsala and three private firms. The total budget of the project is SEK 650 million (around €72 million). The Commission opened an investigation to verify whether public funding was needed to offer such facilities (see IP/12/261).
During the investigation, Sweden demonstrated, in particular that there was a need for additional capacity and no practicable alternative to the construction of a new arena. The new arena will be complementary to existing arenas and thus increase the types of events (sports and cultural) to take place in the area. Moreover, the public co-financing is limited to the strictly necessary to realise the project. Also, the use of the arena is sufficiently open to all on non-discriminatory terms without favouring any specific companies. Finally, due to the location of the arena and the activities to be carried out there, the effect on trade and competition will be limited.
The Commission therefore concluded that the aid was in line with EU state aid rules.
Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) allows aid for the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions.
In March 2012, the Commission had opened two in-depth investigations into public funding for multi-function arenas, one in Sweden and one in Denmark. The first investigation has been closed with today's decision.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.33618 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News. The investigation on the Danish multiarena is on-going (see case SA.33728).