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Brussels, 16 December 1998

Commission sets national ceilings for coverage of regional aid

The European Commission has updated the national ceilings for regional aid coverage to apply from 2000 to 2006.

When it adopted the guidelines on national regional aid on 16 December 1997, the Commission also set the ceiling for regional aid coverage during the period from 2000 to 2006 at 42.7% of the Union's population, which is a fall of 4 percentage points from the current population coverage (see IP/97/1137, 17.12.1997). This Community ceiling was then distributed between Article 92(3)(a) and Article 92(3)(c) regions and between the various Member States, taking account of regional disparities as reflected in per capita income and unemployment rates taken in the national and Community contexts. Under this Commission decision, the various national ceilings, which determine the maximum coverage of regional aid to be granted by the Member States between 2000 and 2006, were to be reviewed before the end of 1998.

Today the Commission has updated the national ceilings for regional aid coverage on the basis of the most recent statistics (1994-96 for per capita GDP and 1995-97 for unemployment). The national ceilings for assisted population coverage under the Article 92(3)(a) and (c) derogations which the Commission considers to be compatible with the common market during the period from 2000 to 2006, by Member State, are:

  • Belgium: 30.9%

  • Denmark: 17.1%

  • Germany: 34.9%

  • Greece: 100%

  • Spain: 79.2%

  • France: 36.7%

  • Ireland: 100%

  • Italy: 43.6%

  • Luxembourg: 32.0%

  • Netherlands: 15.0%

  • Austria: 27.5%

  • Portugal: 100%

  • Finland: 42.2%

  • Sweden: 15.9%

  • United Kingdom: 28.7%

Within these ceilings, the regions eligible under the derogation provided for in Article 92(3)(a) of the Treaty are those which, being nomenclature of territorial unit for statistics (NUTS) level II geographical units, have a per capita gross domestic product (GDP), measured in purchasing power standards (PPS), on the basis of the average of the last three years for which statistics are available from the Statistical Office of the European Communities, of less than 75.0% of the Community average. Under the Commission's proposals on the Structural Funds this criterion must also be used to determine the regions whose development is lagging behind and which are eligible under Objective 1, thus ensuring greater consistency between national state aid and Community assistance under the Structural Funds, and concentration of this support in the poorest regions.

The Commission will officially inform all Member States of these ceilings before the end of the year. The Member States will then be in possession of all the information they need to notify their regional aid maps, which will be valid for the period from 2000 to 2006. They have been asked to do so before 31 March 1999, so that the assisted regions can be selected in good time, failing which no regional aid can be granted after 31 December 1999.

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