Reform of the Regional Aid Guidelines: Evolution or Revolution?

Cite as: Wishlade, F. (2013) Reform of the Regional Aid Guidelines: Evolution or Revolution? paper to 11th Experts’ forum on new developments in State aid law, European State Aid Law Institute, 7 June 2013, de Warande, Brussels

The current (2007-13) Regional Aid Guidelines (RAG) expire on 31 December 2013. On 14 January 2013 the Commission issued Draft Regional Aid Guidelines for 2014-20 for public consultation. TheDraft RAG imply significant changes to regional aid in the EU, particularly regarding the spatial coverage of policy and the targeting of aid to large firms and, at the time of writing, are the subject ofdiscussion among the European institutions and the Member States. In practice, most regional aid measures currently fall within either the Regional Block Exemption Regulation or the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), which superseded it. The GBER is also set to expire on 31 December 2013. On 8 May 2013, the Commission published a Draft GBER for consultation. Againstthis background, the aim of this note is to outline the key features of the proposed reforms to regional aid. However, it is important to stress that policy is presently in a state of flux and further changes can be expected in the texts actually adopted. This note begins with a brief overview of the current system of regional aid control before reviewing the changes proposed.

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