State aid in the management of the ESIF

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Thematic seminars - State Aid in Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) projects co-financed from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

Date: Wednesday 27 January 2016 09:00-17:00

Venue: The Hotel, Boulevard de Waterloo 38, 1000 Bruxelles

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENTATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS: pdf

It is recognised that innovation is a main driver of economic growth in the EU. The European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) will contribute substantially to reaching the EU’s smart growth objectives by investments in research, development and innovation (RDI), both in the public and private sector.

All Member States plan to invest ESIF in RDI projects aiming to contribute substantially to improving innovation systems and capacities and enhance industrial competitiveness. These investments need to be compatible with the internal market rules and not distort competition in the internal market. However, state aid issues are frequently raised by the managing authorities as a problem for the conception of their RDI support schemes, not only regarding research infrastructures, but also regarding innovation support services and facilities and the support of RDI activities (for instance in the context of the "Seal of Excellence" initiative).

Against this background, the European Commission has taken the initiative to assist colleagues from national authorities on state aid issues when preparing ESIF-supported RDI programmes and projects. As a practical contribution, the European Commission services (DG Regional and Urban Policy and DG Competition) are organising a workshop on State Aid for Research, Development and Innovation on 27 January 2016 in Brussels. The purpose of the workshop is to provide concrete and practical examples on how to deal with state aid for RDI to practitioners involved in management of the European Structural Investment Funds. The workshop is planned to be interactive and hands-on, dealing with concrete cases and exchanging good practices and lessons learnt in order to provide pragmatic ideas and solutions.

For this first thematic seminar, a limited number of participants will be invited consisting of specialists nominated by Member States (max. 2 per Member State) with experience of RDI projects and state aid. Depending on the feedback and interest from Member States, further seminars of a similar kind may be arranged.

The working language will be English.

Agenda

08h30-09h00

Registration and Welcome coffee

09h00-09h15

Opening and welcome
Pascal Boijmans, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission

09h15-10h15

State aid rules for Research, Development and Innovation (20')
Paolo Cesarini, Directorate-General for Competition, European Commission PDF

Current challenges related to application of State aid in the field of RDI (20´)
Phedon Nicolaides (state aid expert)PDF

Questions and answers (20´)

10h15-10h45

Coffee-break

10h45-12h15

State aid rules for RDI - Key issues identified by practitioners (45´)
Marek Przeor / Yvonne Simon, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission PDF

Questions and answers (45´)

12h15-13h15

Buffet lunch

13h15-15h15

Brief presentation of case studies (10´ each = 30´ in total)
Representatives of Member States or Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and Directorate-General for Competition, European Commission

Workshop – discussions and practical work on case studies (90´)
Chairs: Directorate-General for Competition, European Commission

15h15-15h45

Coffee-break

15h45-16h30

Reporting from the working groups (45´)
Chairs: Directorate-General for Competition, European Commission

16h30-16h45

Conclusion and closure
Pascal Boijmans, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission

Background information

(selected relevant legislation and guidance: State aid for RDI)

  1. Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1589 of 13 July 2015 (State aid regulation) PDF
  2. Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 (General Block Exemption Regulation - GBER) PDF
  3. Framework for state aid for research and development and innovation (Communication from the Commission, C(2014) 3282, 21.5.2014) PDF
  4. Draft Commission Notice on the notion of State aid pursuant to Article 107(1) TFEU (European Commission, Document in consultation, 2014) – Public consultation PDF
  5. Analytical Grids on the application of State aid rules to the financing of infrastructure projects, Grid no. 4 RDI (September 2015) PDF
  6. Guidance Note to the COCOF on Verification of Compliance with State Aid Rules in Infrastructure Cases (COCOF_12-0059-01, 21.11.2012) PDF
  7. European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgement in Case C-288/11 P ("Leipzig Halle") of 19 December 2012 PDF
  8. Guide on GBER - Frequently Asked Questions, July 2015 PDF
  9. RDI framework general – Frequently Asked Questions PDF