Brussels, 16 September 2014
State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for The Netherlands
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules the Dutch map for granting regional investment aid between 2014 and 2020. The map is based on the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The new 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: “The new regional aid map for The Netherlands allows for targeted public support to businesses in those Dutch regions where aid is most needed.”
The regional aid map notified to the Commission by The Netherlands 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 Dutch map defines seven areas as eligible for regional aid under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This provision allows the granting of aid in areas which are disadvantaged relative to the national average. The seven areas form contiguous zones selected within the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe (2), Friesland and Flevoland, and the regions of Achterhoek and Groot-Rijnmond.
The designated areas have 1,254,830 inhabitants, or 7.478% of the total population of The Netherlands. This is nearly the same as in the Dutch regional aid map for the previous period 2007-2013. The regional aid map for The Netherlands is characterised by a high degree of geographical concentration, which is in line with the aim to focus regional aid on the most disadvantaged areas of the EU. The maximum level of aid that can be granted to large enterprises for regional investment projects carried out in the assisted areas is 10% of the investment cost. This percentage can be increased by 10 percentage points for medium-sized enterprises and by 20 percentage points for small enterprises.
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.
Article 107(3)(c) TFEU allows regional state aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or of certain economic areas where it does not adversely affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. The regional aid guidelines define these as areas of a Member State which are disadvantaged either in relation to the EU average, or in relation to the national average. The guidelines set a population coverage ceiling aimed at focusing aid at the most disadvantaged regions. The population coverage is distributed between Member States according to socioeconomic criteria which take into account regional disparities, including unemployment, at both EU and national levels. It is then for each Member State to decide in its regional map how to best use this room for manoeuvre to define more eligible areas in order to address its internal regional disparities.
The non-confidential version of today's decision will be made available under the case number SA.39108 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.