(17 May 2017) – The European Commission has approved today new state aid rules that exempt certain public support measures for ports, airports, culture and the outermost regions from prior Commission scrutiny. The objective is to facilitate public investment for job creation and growth whilst preserving competition.
Thanks to the 2014 ‘General Block Exemption Regulation’, about 95% of state aid measures implemented by Member States (with a combined annual expenditure of about €28 billion) are now exempted. The Commission has now extended the scope of this Regulation to ports and airports, following two public consultations.
As regards airports, Member States can now make public investments in regional airports handling up to 3 million passengers per year with full legal certainty and without prior control by the Commission.
With regard to ports, Member States can now make public investments of up to €150 million in sea ports and up to €50 million in inland ports.
In addition, the Regulation includes a number of new simplifications in other areas, such as culture projects.
The Commission has also made it easier for public authorities to compensate companies for the additional costs they face when operating in the EU’s outermost regions taking account of the specific challenges these companies are facing such as their remoteness and dependence on a few traded products.