Brussels, 21 May 2014
State aid: Commission introduces new transparency requirements
As a cornerstone of its State Aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative (see IP/12/458), the European Commission has introduced new transparency requirements concerning state aid granted by Member States to undertakings. For each state aid award above €500,000, Member States will be required to publish the identity of the beneficiary, the amount and objective of the aid and the legal basis.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said: "Transparency promotes accountability and more effective policies. Member States will have to set up a dedicated website so that citizens and stakeholders can see which companies have received state aid, how much and for what purpose. This will help promote the good use of taxpayers' money."
As part of the State Aid Modernisation agenda, the Commission has considerably increased the scope of exemptions from prior notification of state aid granted to companies (see IP/14/587 and MEMO/14/369). This will significantly reduce the administrative burden for Member States and will allow the faster deployment of aid for the companies that receive it.
As a complement, the Commission has introduced new transparency requirements. A Communication adopted today aligns the transparency requirements across all the recently revised state aid rules1. Member States will publish all state aid awards above €500,000 on a dedicated website. The information to be made available includes the name of the beneficiary and the amount of aid granted. It will specify whether the beneficiary is an SME or a large company, where the beneficiary is located and in which sector it is active. It will also concern the aid instrument, the date of granting and the legal basis.
The information will be published on national or regional websites within 6 months from the granting of the aid. Full and timely publication is a condition for the validity of the aid. Transparency extends also to fiscal aid, with specific rules ensuring that tax confidentiality is preserved.
Member States have two years to put in place the website and an appropriate system to collect the information.
See also the Policy brief, for more details on state aid transparency.
The text of the Communication is available at:
Transparency requirements are also already part of certain state aid rules, such as the Broadband Guidelines (see IP/12/424), the Regional Aid Guidelines (see IP/13/569), the Cinema Communication (see IP/13/1074), the Risk Finance Guidelines (see IP/14/21) and the Aviation Guidelines (see IP/14/172).
Following public consultations on these texts, the Commission has now aligned the transparency requirements of those texts through the new Communication in order to ensure proportionality, prevent the disclosure of information not related to State aid and provide Member States with a transitional implementation phase.
The Energy and Environment Guidelines (see IP/14/400) are already in line with the Communication's requirements. The same requirements will also apply to aid awarded under the GBER (see IP/14/587) and R&D&I framework (see IP/14/586) adopted today .