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Consultation on additional categories for a revised draft General Block Exemption Regulation on state aid measures ('GBER II')

Policy field

State aid

Target group

Institutions, public authorities, citizens, companies and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from national authorities dealing with the state aid measures covered by the GBER.

Consultation period

From 24.07.2013 until 10.09.2013

Objective of the consultation

State funding meeting the criteria of Article 107(1) TFEU constitutes state aid. However, according to Art 109 TFEU, the Council may determine categories of aid that are exempt from the notification procedure set out in Article 108(3) TFEU. By adopting Regulation (EC) No. 994/98 ('Enabling Regulation'), the Council enabled the Commission to declare compatible with the internal market aid in the following categories: small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), research and development, environmental protection, employment and training and regional aid. The General block exemption Regulation (GBER), in force since 29 August 2008, simplifies aid granting procedures and allows a range of measures fulfilling horizontal common interest objectives.

The Commission launched, with its Communication on State aid Modernisation (SAM) of 8 May 2012, a broad review of State aid rules. State aid enforcement should facilitate sustainable, smart and inclusive growth, focus on cases with the biggest impact on the single market, streamline the rules and provide for faster, better informed and more robust decisions.

The review of the GBER is at the centre of the SAM reform and shall contribute to all objectives, with particular focus on simplification. A first consultation on the GBER review took place between 20 June and 12 September 2012 and another public consultation on a far-reaching review, including a draft Regulation, was held from 8 May to 28 June 2013. The Commission is currently processing the numerous replies.

In the meantime, on 22 July 2013, the EU's Council of Ministers adopted the revision of the Enabling Regulation, which will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal. This adoption creates the legal basis for block exemptions in new categories: innovation; culture and heritage conservation; making good the damage caused by natural disasters; making good the damage caused by certain adverse weather conditions in fisheries; forestry; promotion of food sector products not listed in Annex I of the TFEU; conservation of marine and freshwater biological resources; sports; social aid for transport for residents of remote regions; certain broadband infrastructure; and infrastructure in support of the objectives of the Enabling Regulation and objectives of common interest.

The Commission is now enabled to draft compatibility criteria for block exemptions for these new categories, to the extent distortions of competition can be minimised, new block exempted measures contribute to the objectives of SAM and the Commission already has sufficient substantial experience with the respective subcategory. Considering these selection criteria, the present consultation covers the following aid categories:

  • making good the damage caused by natural disasters;
  • social aid for transport for residents of remote regions;
  • certain broadband infrastructure;
  • innovation;
  • culture and heritage conservation;
  • sports and multifunctional infrastructure.

As in the past, the process of block exemptions will therefore be gradual also for the new categories. On the other hand, the timely adoption of the revised Enabling Regulation allows to launch already now the consultation process on criteria for subcategories where sufficient case experience exists.

In addition to the above new (sub)categories proposed, further categories will be inserted at a later stage, when the Commission will have a clearer view on possible compatibility criteria. For instance, while there is a substantial case experience with State aid to cinema and audio-visual works, the Commission finds it more appropriate to propose the draft compatibility criteria for the block exemptions in this area in the light of the final text of the Cinema Communication to be adopted by the Commission in early autumn. Other aid categories could be inserted, if there are specific requests, as in the case for aid to ports' infrastructure. On the latter ones, the Commission services seek feed-back from Member States and other stakeholders on whether exemption from the notification requirement is necessary, as well as on what kind of compatibility criteria should be devised. Other aid categories are not inserted due to lack of case-experience and may therefore be considered after the adoption of relevant Guidelines and the development of case-practice.

GBER II shall later merge with the general review of the GBER with a view to a single adoption.

A prolongation of the period of application of the present GBER until 30 June 2014 is also proposed.

View the consultation document

Reason why the consultation period is less than 12 weeks

In order to achieve a consolidated single adoption of the entire revised GBER including new categories in time, the consultation has to be launched immediately following adoption of the Enabling Regulation. The intended consolidated adoption is an urgency calling for a reduced consultation period.

Reference documents and other, related consultations

First Advisory Meeting on GBER (July 2013)

First Advisory Meeting on GBER II (September 2013)

General block exemption Regulation

First GBER consultation (June – September 2012)

Second GBER consultation (May-June 2013)

State Aid Modernisation (SAM)

Previous reviews

Contact details

Responsible service: Directorate-General for Competition, Unit A.3 State aid policy and scrutiny
Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: Ref.: HT.3365 – SAM – GBER review

Postal address: European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
State aid registry
1049 Brussels
Ref.: HT.3365 – SAM – GBER review

Replies to the consultation

Member States
  • Belgium - Ministère - Secrétariat Général - Direction des Relations Internationales fr
  • Bulgaria - Permanent Representation en
  • Czech Republic - Permanent Representation cs
  • Denmark - Ministry of Business and Growth en
  • Estonia - Permanent Representation en
  • Finland - Ministry of Employment and Economy fi en
  • France - Permanent Representation fr
  • Germany - Permanent Representation de
  • Greece - Ministry of Culture and Sports en
  • Hungary - Ministry for National Development en
  • Ireland - Department of Arts Heritage en
  • Italy - Permanent Representation it
  • Latvian authorities en
  • Lithuania - Permanent Representation lt - lt
  • Netherlands - Ministry of Economic Affairs en
  • Poland - Permanent Representation pl
  • Portugal - Permanent Representation pt
  • Romania - Permanent Representation ro
  • Slovakia - Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic - State Aid Department sk
  • Spain - Permanent Representation es
  • Sweden - Permanent Representation sv
  • United Kingdom - Permanent Representation en
Public authorities
  • Belgium - Vlaamse Overheid – Agentschap Ondernemen en
  • Finland Government of Åland sv
  • France - ARF - Association des Régions de France fr
  • Spain - Gobierno de Aragon es
  • Spain - Gobierno de las Islas Baleares es
Registered organisations
  • Austria - BAK - Bundesarbeitskammer de
  • Austria - FEEI - Fachverband der Elektro- und Elektronikindustrie en/de - en - de
  • Austria - Wien Energie GmbH de
  • Austria - WKO - Wirtschaftskammer Österreich de
  • Belgium - BAE - Business Angels Europe en
  • Belgium - Cine-Regio en
  • Belgium - Europa Nostra en
  • Belgium - RREUSE en
  • Belgium - ETNO - European Telecommunications Network Operators Assocation en
  • Belgium - ENSIE - European Network of Social Integration Enterprises fr en
  • Belgium - Pearle - Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe en
  • France - APCMA - Assemblée Permanente des Chambres de Métiers et de l'Artisanat fr
  • France - GIMELEC en
  • France - MEPLF - Maison Européenne des Pouvoirs Locaux Francais fr
  • France - NFID - Nord France Innovation Développement en - en
  • France - Orange en
  • France - UFISC - Union Fédérale d'Intervention des Structures Culturelles fr
  • Germany - Allianz Deutscher Produzenten - Film & Fernsehen de
  • Germany - BPI - Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie de
  • Germany - Deutsche Telekom en
  • Germany - DIHK - Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce de
  • Germany - Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München de
  • Germany - VOB - Bundesverband Öffentlicher Banken Deutschlands de
  • Italy - Confcommercio it en
  • Italy - Confindustria it
  • Italy - InnovaPuglia spa (Regione Puglia) it
  • Italy - Telecom Italia en
  • Netherlands - AEDES - Dutch association of social housing organisations en
  • Poland - Comper Fornalczyk I Wspolnicy en
  • Poland - Orange pl
  • United Kingdom - British Film Institute en
  • United Kingdom - English Heritage en
Non-registered organisations
  • Austria - Austriatech en
  • Bulgaria - Bulgarian Association of Business Clusters en
  • France - ARAMIS fr
  • France - FEPS - Fédération Nationale des Employeurs du Spectacle Vivant Public et Privé fr
  • France - Lille Métropole fr
  • Germany - BNETZA - Bundesnetzagentur fur Elektrizitat, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen de
  • Germany - Deutsche Institutionen der Filmförderung de
  • Germany - KLEVER de
  • Germany - Oper Leipzig de
  • Germany - SKD - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden de
  • Germany - Sächsische Staatstheater de
  • Netherlands - Nysingh Advocaten Notarissen en
  • Netherlands - SNN en
  • Norway - Directorate for Cultural Heritage en
  • Poland - Krzysztof Drogosz pl
  • Poland - Polish Craft Association (ZRP) en
  • POPON - Polska Organizacja Pracodawcow Osob Niepelnosprawnych pl
  • Spain - Committee on Culture - United Cities and Local Governments en
  • United Kingdom - Arts Council England en
  • United Kingdom - Creative England en
  • United Kingdom - NHMF/HLF - The National Heritage Memorial Fund/Heritage Lottery Fund en
  • United Kingdom - Tees Valley Unlimited en
  • United Kingdom - The Football Association en
  • United Kingdom - The Law Society of Scotland en
  • United Kingdom - The National Trust en
  • United Kingdom - The Royal National Theatre en en
  • United Kingdom - The Woodland Trust en
Individual contributions
  • Capretti, Ruggero en
  • A. Nikolic, D. Milojkovic (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) en
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