User's Guide for State Aid Cases
Last update: 16.09.2013
Finding information on state aid cases
Scope and coverage
This multi-criteria search tool provides information on and access to all state aid cases that have been the object of a Commission decision since 1st January 2000. In addition, it provides information on block exemption cases registered by the Commission. Ongoing cases for which no decision has yet been taken are not included.
The search tool is updated daily and thus ensures that the public has timely access to the most recent state aid decisions.
You can find cases handled by all Commission Directorates-General responsible for state aid policy, namely:
- DG Competition
- DG Agriculture and Rural Development
- DG Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
How to find information on a case
You can find a case or a list of cases by selecting from a range of search criteria such as Member State, case title, primary objective, economic sector, date of decision, type of decision, and aid instrument. For example, you could select all French cases decided in the last six months in aid for research and development aid.
To look for a particular case, enter its working title (usually in English or French) or original title (usually in the language of the Member State concerned). Even part of the title is enough (e.g. one word from a scheme title or the company name).
To search by criteria such as Official Journal reference or decision number, please use the search function on the EUR-Lex internet site.
Description of the search criteria
A short description of each of the search criteria appears on screen. Simply place the cursor next to the search criteria and a text box will appear.
Information displayed for each case (Result list)
By clicking on "show detail" for a case, the following information is displayed, where available and relevant.
1. Case number
2. Case title
3. Member State/Region
4. Primary objective
5. EU Primary or secondary legal basis
6. Economic Sector
7. Aid instrument
8. Case type
10. Notification or Registration Date
11. DG responsible
12. Related state aid cases
13. Procedure code(s) if this is not already indicated in the case number.
14. Decisions taken in the case (including links to the decision letter to the Member State; working language version, the text published in the Official Journal and the press release where relevant)
15. Related court case(s).
The "Export" button allows you to download the results list in Excel format (.xls) for further processing. This facility downloads text but not hyperlinks.
Simple search form
1. Case number – unique for each case
A new, simplified numbering system for state aid cases was introduced in November 2010. Cases registered after this date are identified by one single number, prefixed by "SA", e.g. SA.12345. Individual procedure types are indicated in the details of the case where relevant.
For cases decided prior to 23 November 2010 the previous numbering system is maintained, i.e., the case number is composed of three (sometimes four) elements (for example N793b/1999): a letter indicating procedure type (see box below), a number indicating the serial number of the procedure and the year of the case's notification or registration, e.g. N652/2007. Particularly complex cases may be split into two or more cases, which is indicated by an additional letter e.g. C36a/2005.
Letter(s) indicating procedure type:
C – Contradictoire - case in which the Commission opened the formal investigation procedure due to doubts as to the compatibility of the measure with the common market
E - case of existing aid
MC - Monitoring of state aid decision
N - notified aid case
NN - case of unlawful aid, i.e. non-notified aid or aid that was notified but granted before the Commission has reached a decision
X - General Block Exemption case
XA - Agriculture block exemption case
XE - Employment block exemption case
XF - Fisheries block exemption case
XP - Agriculture Production block exemption case
XR - Regional block exemption case
XS - SME block exemption case
XT - Training block exemption case
A state aid case (except for block exemption cases) could have several case numbers during its lifetime. For example:
- An N case got a new NN case number when the Commission received information that the aid was unlawfully granted;
- An N case, NN case and E case got a new C case number when the Commission opened a formal investigation procedure.
2. Case title is the working title which is displayed in the result list (usually in English or French). For most block exempted measures the working title is in the language of the Member State concerned.
3. Economic sector (NACE) (NACE Rev 2 is the statistical classification of economic activities in the European Union. For a full listing click here). You can specify one (or more) economic sector(s) or sub-sector(s) for which the aid measure(s) in question is earmarked.
You can choose a broad sector, e.g. F – Construction, or narrow the scope by selecting a sub-sector, e.g. F42 - Civil engineering or even F420103 - Construction of bridges and tunnels. Note that every "more general category" (the higher level) will automatically comprise the "more specific ones" (the lower ones), e.g. by selecting J - Information and communication, the system will select by default all J-labeled sub-sectors.
Advanced search form
4. Member State/Region. The region is based on the NUTS classification (NUTS is the nomenclature of territorial units for statistical purposes in the EU. For a full listing, click here."
5. Primary objective of the aid (full list in Annex I). General Block exemption cases are displayed with their specific objectives.
6. GBER objective
GBER refers to the Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008 of 6 August 2008 (also known as the General Block Exemption Regulation, GBER.
7. Primary objective (Agriculture cases) – list of primary objectives specific to agriculture cases
8. Decision type - provides access to all decisions taken in the case. In the details of the result list, where relevant, each decision includes a:
- decision date;
- decision type (see Annex III);
- link to press release (issued only for the most important cases);
- links to decision text in the authentic and working language (when available after all confidential information is removed;
- date of the publication in the Official Journal and link to the Official Journal webpage (when published).
9. EU Primary legal basis and EU secondary legal basis – the search criteria offer legal texts used primarily for cases in industry and services that have been subject to a Commission's decision after 1 January 2007.
10. Notification or registration date:
- notification concerns cases indicated as N
- registration concerns cases indicated as: C, E, NN as well as block exemption cases, i.e. X, XA, XE, XF, XP, XR, XS, XT;.
11. Aid instrument - A full list of the possible instruments can be found in Annex II. More detailed description of the instruments.
12. Case type - the cases are divided into the categories:
- a) Individual Application:
- Ad Hoc Case (aid not granted on the basis of an already approved scheme);
- Individual Application of the scheme (aid granted on the basis of an already approved scheme for which the Commission requested the individual notification while approving the scheme);
- b) Schemes (acts of abstract and general character, on the basis of which individual aid awards may be made to undertakings without needing to notify individually to the Commission).
13. DG responsible - state aid cases are dealt with by different Commission departments according to the sector:
- The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development deals with cases in the agricultural and rural development sectors
- The Directorate-General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs deals with cases in the fisheries sector
- The Directorate-General for Competition deals with cases in all other sectors
14. Select only Commission cases with related court case(s) – the court cases are displayed for state aid cases in relation to which an action, appeal, order, opinion or judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union occurred after 1 January 2006. The court cases displayed are simple links to the Curia internet site, where further details are available. In instances where a case has resulted in multiple court cases, these are displayed chronologically.
Annex I: Primary Objectives (if relevant, objectives specific to block exempted measures are listed below the related primary objective)
- Compensation of damages caused by natural disaster
- Aid for the recruitment of disadvantaged workers in the form of wage subsidies (Art. 40 of the GBER)
- Aid for the employment of disabled workers in the form of wage subsidies (Art. 41 of the GBER)
- Aid for compensating the additional costs of employing disabled workers (Art. 42 of the GBER)
- Energy saving
- Environmental protection
- Investment aid enabling undertakings to go beyond EU standards for environmental protection or increase the level of environmental protection in the absence of EU standards (Art. 18 of the GBER)
- Aid for the acquisition of transport vehicles which go beyond EU standards or which increase the level of environmental protection in absence of EU standards (Art. 19 of the GBER
- Aid for early adaptation to future EU standards for SMEs (Art.20 of the GBER)
- Environmental aid for investment in energy saving measures (Art. 21 of the GBER)
- Environmental investment aid for high efficiency cogeneration (Art. 22 of the GBER)
- Environmental aid for the promotion of energy from renewable energy sources (Art. 23 of the GBER)
- Aid for environmental studies (Art.24 of the GBER)
- Environmental aid in the form of tax reductions (Art. 25 of the GBER)
- Execution of an important project of common Europe
- Heritage conservation
- Aid to young innovative enterprises (Art. 35 of the GBER)
- Aid for innovation advisory services and for innovation support services (Art. 36 of the GBER)
- Aid for the loan of highly qualified personnel (Art. 37 of the GBER)
- Promotion of export and internationalisation
- Regional development
- Regional aid Scheme
- Regional Ad hoc aid (Art. 13.1 of the GBER)
- Aid for newly created small enterprises (Art.14 of the GBER)
- Remedy for a serious disturbance in the economy
- Rescuing firms in difficulty
- Research and development
- Fundamental research (Art. 31.2.a of the GBER)
- Industrial research (Art. 31.2.b of the GBER)
- Experimental development (Art. 31.2.c of the GBER)
- Aid for technical feasibility studies (Art. 32 of the GBER)
- Aid for industrial property rights costs for SMEs (Art. 33 of the GBER)
- Aid for research and development in the agricultural and fisheries sectors (Art. 34 of the GBER)
- Restructuring firms in difficulty
- Risk capital
- Aid in the form of risk capital (Art. 28 - 29 of the GBER)
- Sectoral development
- Services of general economic interest
- SME investment and employment aid (Art.15 of the GBER)
- Aid for small enterprises newly created by female entrepreneurs (Art. 16 of the GBER)
- Aid for consultancy in favour of SMEs (Art. 26 of the GBER)
- Aid for SME participation in fairs (Art. 27 of the GBER)
- Social support to individual consumers
- Specific training (Art. 38.2.a of the GBER)
- General training (Art. 38.2.b of the GBER)
Annex II: Aid instrument
- Debt write-off
- Direct grant
- Interest subsidy
- Provision of risk capital
- Reduction of social security contributions
- Reimbursable grant
- Repayable advances
- Soft loan
- Tax allowance
- Tax base reduction
- Tax rate reduction
- Tax deferment
- Other forms of tax advantage
- Other forms of equity intervention
Annex III: Commission decisions
The Commission issues the following types of decisions – as defined in Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 of 22 March 1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty (Official Journal L 83, 27.03.1999, pages 1-9).
After a preliminary examination (phase I decisions):
- Article 4(2) - decision does not constitute aid
- Article 4(3) - decision not to raise objections (State aid measure is compatible with the single market)
- Article 4(4) - decision to initiate the formal investigation procedure since there are doubts about the compatibility of the aid measure with the single market
- Article 4(4) - decision to extend proceedings
After a formal investigation procedure (phase II decisions):
- Article 7(2) - decision does not constitute aid (after formal investigation procedure)
- Article 7(3) - positive decision (the doubts as to the compatibility of the notified measure with the common market have been removed)
- Article 7(4) - conditional decision (aid approved subject to conditions that will make it compatible with the common Market. monitoring obligations may be imposed)
- Article 7(5) and 14(1) - negative decision with recovery (the Commission finds that the aid is not compatible with the common market and, as it was unlawful aid, the Commission decides that the Member State concerned shall take all necessary measures to recover the aid from the beneficiary)
- Article 7(5) and 14(1) - negative decision without recovery (the aid is not
compatible with the common market and shall not be put into effect)
- Article 7(5) only - negative decision on notified aid
Other types of decisions:
- Article 8(1) - withdrawal of notification (before formal investigation procedure)
- Article 8(2) - withdrawal of notification (after formal investigation procedure)
- Article 9 - revocation of a decision (the Commission decides to revoke its previous decision due to the fact it was based on incorrect information provided during the procedure which was a determining factor for the decision)
- Article 10(3) - information injunction (the Commission requires the Member State to provide the information on alleged unlawful aid in a situation in which the Member State despite a reminder did not provide the information previously requested or provided incomplete information)
- Article 11(1) - suspension injunction (the Commission, after giving the Member State concerned the opportunity to submit its comments, requires the Member State to suspend any unlawful aid until the Commission has taken a decision on the compatibility of the aid with the common market)
- Article 11(2) - recovery injunction (the Commission, after giving the Member State concerned the opportunity to submit its comments, requires the Member State provisionally to recover any unlawful aid until the Commission has taken a decision on the compatibility of the aid with the common market)
- Article 18 - proposal for appropriate measures (the Commission issues a recommendation Proposing appropriate measures, after concluding that in the light of the information submitted by the Member State, the existing aid scheme is not, or is no longer, compatible with the common market)
- Article 260 (2) Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union – referral to the Court of Justice (non-compliance with Court judgment)
- Article 22 - decision to undertake on-site monitoring (the Commission decides to undertake an on-site monitoring visit due to serious doubts as to whether decisions not to raise objections, positive decisions or conditional decisions with regard to individual aid are being complied with)
- Article 23 - referral to Court of Justice (non-compliance with decisions)