Brussels, 16 September 2014
State aid: Commission approves Italy's regional aid map 2014-2020
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules the Italian map defining areas eligible for regional state aid between July 2014 and December 2020. The Commission found the Italian regional aid map to be in line with its regional aid guidelines, adopted in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to companies for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: “Italy's new regional aid map supports EU cohesion policy and contributes to the objective of better targeted and more effective state aid. It will enable the Italian authorities to use well-designed aid measures to promote investment and further economic growth in less developed areas throughout the 2014-2020 period".
The regional aid map for Italy defines the areas that are eligible for regional investment aid under EU state aid rules and establishes the maximum aid levels (so-called "aid intensities") for companies in the eligible regions. The map applies for the period between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2020.
The designated areas have a total population of 20.6 million or 34.07 % of Italy's population. The maximum levels of aid that can be granted to investment projects carried out by large enterprises in the assisted areas are between 10% and 25% of total investment costs, depending on the area concerned. These can be increased by 10 percentage points for medium-sized and 20 percentage points for small enterprises.
Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) allows Member States to grant 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 these areas as regions with a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average. Under the new map for Italy, five regions (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicilia) fall into this category and will continue to be eligible for regional investment aid at a maximum aid intensity of 25% for large enterprises.
Under Article 107(3)(c) of the TFEU also other areas which are less advantaged relative to the EU or national average (but with a GDP per capita above 75% of the EU average) can be eligible provided that they comply with certain criteria and with an overall population coverage ceiling. This allows Member States to tackle their own regional disparities. As these regions are less disadvantaged than areas with a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average, both the geographic scope and the aid intensity are more limited. 25 zones covering 5.03 % of the population of Italy are eligible for regional investment aid under this category, at a maximum aid intensity of 10% for large enterprises.
The regional aid map for Italy for the period 2014-2020 is not significantly different from the one for the previous period. The total population coverage is almost identical (34.07% of the total population of Italy as compared to 34.1% in the previous period). The five regions falling under Article 107(3)(a) TFEU are the same, with a slight reduction in the maximum aid intensity for investments by large companies from 30% to 25%, in line with the provisions of the new guidelines. The population coverage of areas under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU is slightly increased (3 042 000 inhabitants in the new regional aid map as compared to 2 280 000 in the previous one), while in some of these areas the maximum aid intensity dropped from 15% to 10%, in line with the objective of the regional aid guidelines to support the most disadvantaged regions of Europe.
The regional aid guidelines set out the rules under which Member States can grant state aid to companies to support investments in new production facilities in the less advantaged regions of Europe, or to extend or modernise existing facilities. The ultimate purpose of regional state aid is to support economic development and employment. The regional aid guidelines contain rules on the basis of which Member States can draw up regional aid maps valid throughout the guidelines' period of validity. The maps identify in which geographical areas companies can receive regional state aid and at what proportion of the eligible investment costs (aid intensity). Eligible costs are the part of the total investment costs that may be taken into account for the calculation of the aid.
The non-confidential version of today's decision will be made available under the case number SA.38930 in the State Aid Register on the 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.