Brussels, 7 May 2014
State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for Denmark
The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Denmark's map for granting regional development 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), which set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. The guidelines aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia said: “Denmark's new regional aid map allows national and local authorities to support investment where there is a need for it, in particular in areas undergoing major structural change. This will contribute to the development of these areas and support EU cohesion policy objectives.”
A regional aid map defines the regions of a Member State eligible for national regional investment aid under EU state aid rules and establishes the maximum aid levels (so-called "aid intensities") for companies in the eligible regions. Under the guidelines, Member States can make certain areas (such as islands or certain other areas suffering from regional handicaps) eligible for aid to tackle their own regional disparities, provided that they comply with an overall population coverage ceiling. The new map will be in force between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2020.
The designated areas, a list of regions with 444 082 inhabitants, cover 7.90% of Denmark's population. Among these regions, Denmark has designated the Tønder and Sønderborg sub-regions as areas undergoing major structural change, thereby making them eligible for regional aid. Tønder and Sønderborg have a total population of 113,075 inhabitants.
The maximum level of aid that can be granted to investment projects carried out by large companies is 10% of overall investment costs. For investments carried out by SMEs, this percentage can be increased.
While the population coverage is just slightly lower than in the previous aid map (by around 0.9 percentage points), the overall aid intensities have either remained the same or decreased by five percentage points in certain areas. This is in line with the objectives of the new regional aid guidelines, which aim at focusing support on 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, or to extend or modernise existing facilities, in the less advantaged regions of Europe. The ultimate purpose of regional state aid is to support economic development and employment. The regional guidelines contain rules on the basis of which Member States can draw up their regional aid maps for the guidelines' period of validity (i.e. 2014-2020). 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) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (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. Member States have the possibility to make small islands with less than 5,000 inhabitants eligible for this type of aid. In addition, the regional aid guidelines allow Member States to designate areas facing socioeconomic problems as eligible, provided they respect the population coverage given in Annex I to the guidelines.
The non-confidential version of today's decision will be made available under the case number SA.38247 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.