Brussels, 11 March 2014
State aid: Commission approves Slovene regional aid map 2014-2020
The European Commission has approved the Slovenia's map for granting regional state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the Commission's new regional aid guidelines, adopted in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
Slovenia's regional aid map defines the regions eligible under EU State aid rules for regional investment aid granted by Slovene authorities and establishes the maximum aid levels (so-called "aid intensities") for companies in the eligible regions. The adoption of its regional aid map ensures the continuity of the Slovene regional policy. It will be in force between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2020.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: “The new regional map of Slovenia sets out the conditions under which the Slovene authorities will be able to support investment to contribute to regional development. The eligible regions cover the entire territory of the country.''
Under the regional guidelines, areas which have a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average are eligible in priority for regional investment aid, as the main purpose of regional aid is to foster the development of the less advantaged regions of Europe. The region of "Vzhodna Slovenija" falls under this category and therefore will be eligible for regional investment aid at maximum intensities varying between 25% and 45% of the gross grant equivalents of relevant investment projects.
Under the guidelines, other regions can also be made eligible provided that they comply with a certain level of overall population coverage, in order to allow Member States to tackle their own regional disparities. As these regions are less disadvantaged from a European perspective than areas with a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average, both the geographical scope and the aid intensity are limited. In Slovenia, the area of "Zahodna Slovenija" is eligible under this category, at maximum aid intensities varying between 10% and 35%.
Compared to the previous map, the overall aid intensity has dropped between 5% and 20% percentage points, while the population coverage remains identical. This is in line with the overall approach of the Regional Aid Guidelines that are aimed at promoting 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 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. On the basis of the guidelines, he Commission adopts a regional aid map for each Member State.
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 as regions with a GDP per capita below 75% of EU average and outermost regions.
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 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 area 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.38060 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