Brussels, 11 June 2014
State aid: Commission approves Croatia's regional aid map 2014-2020
The European Commission has approved Croatia's map for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of 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 businesses 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 will allow the Croatian authorities to grant state aid for regional development throughout the entire country in order to promote growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market. The map will also facilitate the implementation of regional development programmes co-financed by the European Structural Funds.”
Under Croatia's regional aid map, the entire territory of Croatia will be eligible for regional aid as a region with a GDP below 75% of the EU average from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2020. The map also defines the maximum aid levels (so-called "aid intensities") for initial investments by large enterprises at 25% of the total investment cost in continental Croatia (which comprises 67.05% of the total population of Croatia) and 35% of the total investment cost in Adriatic Croatia (which comprises 32.95% of the total population of Croatia). For investments carried out by SMEs, these percentages can be increased by 20 percentage points for small and 10 percentage points for medium size enterprises.
Under the regional aid guidelines for 2014 - 2020, areas which have a GDP per capita of below 75% of the EU average qualify as a matter of 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 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. On the basis of the guidelines, the 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.
The non-confidential version of today's decision will be made available under the case number SA.38668 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