State aid for research
The new Community framework for state aid for research and
development and innovation, adopted by the Commission on 22
November 2006 and published in the Official Journal on 30 December 2006
(OJ C 323, 30.12.2006, p. 1), entered into force on 1 January 2007.
release on the adoption / Memo
Research and innovation generally thrive best in open and competitive
markets. However, as explained in the State
Aid Action Plan [
- 204 kb] adopted in 2005, market failures may hamper
the delivery of optimal levels of research and innovation. The Action
Plan aims to reduce State aid gradually while refocusing
it on activities that have the most sustainable impact on competitiveness,
jobs and growth, such as research and development. In 2005, 12 % of
State aid (not counting aid for agriculture, fisheries and transport)
in EU-25 was devoted to R&D, amounting to € 5.4 billion. Member
States are invited to increase this proportion.
State aid, among other policy tools, can tackle market
failures and create incentives for market participants, thus facilitating
research and innovation.
Previous rules already provided wide possibilities for Member States
to support research and development through State aid. However, the
Commission reviewed them in 2006 in order to better reflect Community
policy priorities such as promoting cross-border research cooperation,
public-private research partnerships, dissemination of research results
and major research projects of common European interest. This
will contribute to creating a more research and innovation-friendly
The review was prepared notably through a public consultation on State
aid for innovation, which put forward concrete proposals
to include State aid rules for innovation, to increase funding possibilities
as well as legal certainty.
In addition the Commission reviewed the rules
for State aid and risk capital.
The Commission will also encourage eco-innovation and improvements in
productivity through eco-efficiency in line with the Environmental Technology
Action Plan, in particular when revising the Community guidelines for
State aid on environment.
Before mid-2008, the Commission also intends to adopt a General Block Exemption Regulation which will simplify the introduction of new R&D schemes by lifting the notification obligation. The consultation on the draft regulation was opened on 24 April 2007 and lasts until 3 June 2007. Press release / Memo / Full text.
More details and reference documents on State aid reform are available
on the Website
of the Directorate-General for Competition.