Brussels, 4 February 2014
State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for Czech Republic
The European Commission has approved the map of Czech Republic for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the Commission's new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The new guidelines set out under which conditions Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and promote greater cohesion in the Single Market.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: “The new map establishes a framework which will allow the Czech authorities to support investment in regions covering almost 90% of the population.''
The regional aid map of a Member State defines the regions eligible under EU state aid rules for regional investment aid granted by national authorities and establishes the maximum aid levels for companies in the eligible regions. The adoption of its regional aid map ensures the continuity of the Czech regional policy. It will be in force from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2020.
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 this type of regions as having a GDP below 75% of EU average.
In line with these principles, regions covering 88.10% of the population of the Czech Republic will continue to be eligible for regional investment aid at a maximum aid intensity of 25% of the eligible costs of the relevant investment project.
Whereas overall aid intensities have slightly decreased as compared to the previous aid map (between 5 and 15 percentage points, depending on the region), the population coverage remains nearly identical. This is in line with the overall approach of the regional aid guidelines, which aim at supporting the most disadvantaged regions of Europe.
The region of the City of Prague, where 11.9% of the Czech population lives, has a GDP per capita exceeding 100% of the EU average and will thus not be eligible for regional aid between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2020. This does not alter the current situation, since this region ceased to be eligible for aid under the current map in 2009, after a transitional period where aid was allowed in part of the region with a 10% aid intensity.
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 period of validity of the guidelines. 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.37553 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