Thanks to Rachel Bickler of Nabarro LLP for today’s blog
The European Commission has today published, for consultation, the first draft of a new de minimis block exemption regulation for State aid. On the key issue, whether the Commission is proposing to change the basic threshold the answer appears to be a resounding “no” – the Commission is apparently reluctant to introduce a significant increase in that threshold, particularly in an economic climate in which there is considerable economic imbalance between Member State economies. There will be some changes to the detailed rules, however, particularly in relation to loans and aid for road freight transport and the introduction of new centralised reporting obligations.
The key proposals are:
- Retention of the current de minimis ceiling at €200,000 per undertaking over three fiscal years subject to certain clarifications and conditions
- A ceiling of €100,000 over three fiscal years for the road freight transport sector
- A new “safe-harbour” provision for loans below €1 million with a duration for up to five years
- Introduction in each Member State of a centralised de minimis aid register (from 1 January 2016)
There are also quite a number of points of detail in the draft, including a new definition to exclude an “undertaking in difficulty”, which is intended to be coherent with the Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring.
The draft is open for public consultation until 15 May 2013, and the Commission is aiming to adopt the new Regulation by the end of 2013.