Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "The Commission's objective is to ensure that taxpayers’ money is only spent to encourage investments that would not be carried out otherwise, and bring a genuine added value to the region. We verify that the aid amount offered does not exceed what is necessary to attract an investment project to a disadvantaged region. Avoiding such deadweight is extremely important to avoid distortions of competition in the Single Market and any waste of taxpayers' money at a time of tight budgetary constraints."
The European Commission has adopted decisions on the compatibility with EU state aid rules of four distinct projects by Germany, Hungary and Spain to grant regional aid in favour of the car manufacturers Volkswagen, BMW and Ford, in order to attract major investment projects.
The Commission has authorised a German aid measure worth €43.67 million to Volkswagen/Porsche in Leipzig because it furthers regional development without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market, in line with EU guidelines. For BMW, also based in Leipzig, the Commission has found that only part of the planned aid was necessary to carry out the project and has therefore authorised €17 million out of the €45 million planned by Germany. The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the compatibility of aid by Hungary to Volkswagen/AUDI in Győr, because it has concerns that, in view of the strong market position of the beneficiary and the difficult market situation, the aid could harm competition. Finally, the Commission has closed a formal investigation into regional aid for Ford in Spain, after Spain reduced the aid from €24.4 million to €11.2 million, a level which does not require Commission approval.