Public investment in ports, airports, culture simplified
19 May, 2017
The Commission approved last Wednesday new state aid rules that exempt certain public support measures for ports, airports, culture and the outermost regions from prior Commission scrutiny, the EU press service reported. The objective is to facilitate public investment for job creation and growth whilst preserving competition.
“We want to ensure that companies can compete on equal terms in the Single Market – and we want to do so in the most efficient way. EU state aid rules are the same for all Member States. Today's changes will save them time and trouble when investing in ports and airports, culture and the EU's outermost regions, whilst preserving competition. They also allow the Commission to focus attention on state aid measures that have the biggest impact on competition in the Single Market,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
The 2014 'General Block Exemption Regulation' enabled Member States to implement a wide range of State aid measures without prior Commission approval because they are unlikely to distort competition. The Commission has now extended the scope of this regulation to ports and airports, following two public consultations. As regards airports, Member States can now make public investments in regional airports handling up to 3 million passengers per year with full legal certainty and without prior control by the Commission.
With regard to ports, Member States can now make public investments of up to €150m in sea ports and up to €50m in inland ports with full legal certainty and without prior control by the Commission. In addition, the regulation includes a number of new simplifications in other areas, namely culture, multi-purpose sports arenas and EU's outermost regions. The initiative aims to reduce administrative burdens for public authorities and other stakeholders.