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State aid

State Aid Scoreboard 2016

What is the Scoreboard? - Main summary - Main tables - Concepts and methodology - Crisis aid

What is the Scoreboard?

The 2016 State Aid Scoreboard comprises aid expenditure made by Member States before 31.12.2015 and which falls under the scope of Article 107(1) TFEU. The data is based on the annual reporting by Member States pursuant to Article 6(1) of Commission Regulation (EC) 794/2004. Expenditure refers to all existing aid measures to manufacturing industries, services, agriculture and fisheries, for which the Commission adopted a formal decision or received an information fiche from the Member States in relation to measures qualifying for exemption under the General Block Exemption Regulation. In practice the figures below exclude most of the aid to railways and services of general economic interest. Also crisis aid to the financial sector is dealt with separately.

For detailed information, a technical note provides an overview of the reported expenditure aggregates and summarises the main findings, notably on the most relevant observed changes between 2014 and 2015.

The 2016 Scoreboard - Main summary

According to the national expenditure reports for 2015, Member States spent EUR 98 billion, i.e. 0.67% of GDP, on state aid at European Union level, a decrease of about 0.04p.p. of GDP compared to 2014. In nominal terms, this represents a slight decrease of about 0.5% compared to 2014 expenditures (- EUR 465 million).

Figure 1 - State Aid expenditure as % of GDP (2015), less railways

Source: Commission Services.

About 46% of total spending is attributed to state aid to environmental and energy savings mainly following the inclusion of renewable energy systems schemes (RES) in line with the Commission decision 2014/C 200/01 to improve the accuracy of accounting for aid to renewables. Without state aid to environmental and energy savings, Member States spent about EUR 53 billion, i.e. 0.36% of GDP, on state aid at European Union level (see Graph 1). In nominal terms, this represents a stronger decrease of about 6.6% compared to 2014 expenditures (- EUR 3.7 billion).

Figure 2 - Total State Aid expenditure, excluding aid to railways as % of GDP

Source: Commission Services.

For EU28, the overall change in reported State Aid expenditure in 2015 compared to 2014 can largely be explained by the following factors: (1) a strong decrease of state aid for regional development of about 4.8 billion EUR; (2) a decrease of state aid on research and development including innovation of about 1 billion EUR; (3) an increase of state aid to environmental protection including energy savings of about 3.3 billion EUR; (4) an increase of state aid for culture of about 1.1 billion EUR in 2015; (5) an increase of state aid for employment of about 400 million EUR (6) an increase of state aid for social support to individual consumers; (7) a decrease of agricultural aid of about 249 million EUR.

Figure 3 - Overall change in State Aid expenditure by objective, excluding aid to railways as % of GDP

Source: Commission Services.

One of the cornerstones of the State Aid Modernisation reform is the new General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), which simplifies aid granting procedures for Member States by authorising without prior notification a wide range of measures that fulfil EU common interest objectives. Only cases with the highest potential to distort competition in the single market will still face ex ante assessment (notification). As a result of the reform, a significantly larger number of small and unproblematic measures are exempted from prior notification, notably those granting aid to tackle local needs.

Figure 4 - GBER uptake

Source: Commission Services.

The revised GBER represents both a broadening of the categories already covered by the previous GBER as well as new ones, namely: aid to innovation clusters and aid to process and organisational innovation; aid schemes to make good the damage caused by natural disasters; social aid for transport residents of remote regions; aid for broadband infrastructure; aid for culture and heritage conservation (including aid schemes for audio-visual works); aid for sport and multifunctional recreational infrastructures; and investment aid for local infrastructure.

To a large extent, the reported expenditure on GBER measures already reflected the impact of the new regulation in 2015. Total GBER spending for aid to culture and heritage conservation almost tripled, while strong increases were recorded for aid measures to compensate damages caused by natural disasters (+53%), for training aid (+41%), for environmental protection and energy savings (+22%), for employment aid (+32%) and for SMEs (+19%).

Figure 5 - Overall change in State Aid expenditure by objective, excluding aid to railways as % of GDP

Source: Commission Services.

The 2016 Scoreboard – Main tables

Overview tables
Country fiches
Belgium Bulgaria Czech Republic
Denmark Germany Estonia
Ireland Greece Spain
France Croatia Italy
Cyprus Latvia Lithuania
Luxembourg Hungary Malta
Netherlands Austria Poland
Portugal Romania Slovenia
Slovak Republic Finland Sweden
United Kingdom European Union  

The 2016 Scoreboard – Concepts and methodology

For details on methodology, please refer to the methodological note.

The 2016 Scoreboard - Aid in the context of the financial and economic crisis

The global financial crisis had major impact on financial institutions in the EU. To reduce the adverse effects of the crisis and restore confidence, EU governments provided State aid to financial institutions.

The 2016 scoreboard shows State aid to financial institutions in the years 2008-2015, by aid instrument. The data include both the maximum amounts of aid that EU Member States were allowed to grant (State aid approved) and the amounts of aid actually implemented (State aid used).

Adding to this are Eurostat data on fiscal revenue and expenditure, resulting from the support for financial institutions during the crisis. More specifically, revenue from dividends can be compared to State aid provided in the form of capital-like instruments (recapitalisations and impaired assets measures). Similarly, guarantee fees and the amount of guarantees called can be compared to the stock of guarantees, whilst interest received can be compared to the stock of other liquidity measures.

For details on methodology, including conceptual differences with the Eurostat data, please refer to methodological remarks.

Overview tables


*Excluding agricultural and rural development aid and aid granted to fisheries and aquaculture 
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Non-crisis aid Horizontal aid Sectoral aid Crisis-related aid