The European Commission has agreed to prolong seven sets of EU rules governing state aid modernisation which were set to expire in 2020.
The Commission has launched an evaluation of the rules, which it has extended for a further two years, in order to assess whether they should be prolonged further or updated to bring them in line with state aid modernisation legislation.
The European Commission began a wide-ranging programme of state aid reform, the State Aid Modernisation, in May 2012. The programme accords greater degrees of freedom to Member States in the distribution and administration of state aid with the goal of promoting investment, job creation and economic growth; allowing the Commission to focus its efforts on investigating and deterring cases where state aid is most likely to distort competition.
As a result of the changes made under the state aid modernisation programme, more than 97 per cent of state aid measures in the EU are implemented directly by Member States without recourse to the Commission. A number of the rules introduced as part of the programme have no fixed expiry date, but will be evaluated alongside the rules which do have a deadline in order to maintain predictability and legal certainty across the board. The results of the evaluations will form a basis for the Commission’s future decisions on the potential extension or amendment of the rules.
The “fitness checks” implemented by the Commission on state aid rules will include internal analyses on the progress of state aid modernisation by the Commission’s investigators, public consultations; and where relevant, consultations with external bodies or stakeholders. The rules will be evaluated according to the terms of the Better Regulation Guidelines to assess their fitness for purpose that the benefits – or otherwise – they provide to European businesses and citizens. Once the Commission’s findings are complete, they will be summarised in a Commission Staff Working Document.