Short Reads

European Commission issues new rules for State aid to ports, airports, culture and the outermost regions

European Commission issues new rules for State aid to ports, airports

European Commission issues new rules for State aid to ports, airports, culture and the outermost regions

01.06.2017 NL law

On 17 May 2017, the European Commission amended the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) in order to enable more public investment in ports, airports, culture and the outermost regions. These amendments aim to stimulate job creation and growth while preserving competition.

Public investments qualify as State aid if state resources are used to give an undertaking or a certain group of undertakings preferential economic treatment with a result that the competition is or may be distorted and that the investment is likely to affect the trade between Member States. As a rule, Member States can only implement State aid after approval from the Commission. Therefore, Member States must notify the Commission of intended State aid. The GBER exempts certain public investments which qualify as State aid from the notification requirements.

The scope of the GBER has now been extended by the Commission regarding the following public investments. Member States can:

  • invest in regional airports handling up to up to 3 million passengers per year. According to the Commission, this will facilitate public investment in more than 420 airports across the EU. These airports are responsible for 13% of air traffic. In addition, Member States can cover operating costs of small airports handling up to 200,000 passengers per year.
  • make public investments of up to EUR 150 million in sea ports and up to EUR 50 million in inland ports.
  • support culture projects and multi-purpose sports arenas with higher amounts of State aid. The Member States can now invest EUR 150 million in culture projects (instead of EUR 100 million) and EUR 75 million per undertaking per year (instead of EUR 50 million). They can also invest EUR 30 million or the total costs exceeding EUR 100 million per project regarding multi-purpose sports arenas (instead of EUR 15 million or the total costs exceeding EUR 50 million per project).
  • compensate companies more for the additional costs they face when operating in the EU's outermost regions taking account of the specific challenges these companies are facing.

With these new changes, the Commission is taking an additional step towards reaching the goal of the Juncker Commission to apply the State aid rules in an effective and efficient way by focusing on State aid that leads to significant distortions of competition.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of June 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. European Commission accepts Amazon's commitments in e-book probe
  2. Recent enforcement action emphasizes the importance of compliance with procedural EU merger rules
  3. European Commission publishes final report on e-commerce sector inquiry 
  4. District Court of Amsterdam rules on the validity of the assignments and prescription of CDC's claims for damage in sodium chlorate cartel
  5. Belgian Competition Authority fines undertakings for bid-rigging in railway tender

Team

Related news

17.07.2019 BE law
EU Single-Use Plastics Directive is now in force: brief recap

Articles - Plastic is a significant and growing global concern. A recent study commissioned by WWF and carried out by the University of Newcastle, Australia, suggests that people are consuming around 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic every week (which is approximately 5 grams of plastic, the weight of a credit card).  In this context, the EU adopted a new directive aiming at tackling marine litter generated from 10 single-use plastic products and from abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics. This is called the Single-Use Plastics Directive and has entered into force this month, on 2 July 2019.

Read more

15.07.2019 EU law
ICO to impose record-breaking fines for inadequate security measures and data breaches

Short Reads - Though the European data protection authorities have taken their time in enforcing the GDPR, two announcements by the ICO in the UK regarding proposed fines for British Airways and Marriott demonstrate that large fines are about to start landing regularly. Both of the substantial fines are to be handed out as a result of shortcomings in handling data breaches caused by cyber-attacks.

Read more

04.07.2019 BE law
Higher fines ahead under Belgium's new competition act

Short Reads - Companies beware: on 3 June 2019, a new competition act entered into force in Belgium. The new act introduces a number of modifications to procedure and sanctions, aimed at improving enforcement of competition laws as well as the functioning of competition authorities.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring