Experts on EU State aid regulation to meet in Helsinki on 25 October
The EU rules on State aid are the same for all but they leave the Member States a great re-sponsibility for their interpretation. The regulation of EU State aid was reformed in 2014 in a way that increased the need for regular dialogue between the Commission and the Member States. The cooperation group on State aid regulation meeting in Helsinki was established at the time on Finland’s initiative.
One of the topics of the Working Group of Member States on State Aid Modernisation (SAM WG) is the application of the State aid rules to measures aiming at environmental protection. It is a current topic and much wanted on the agenda.
The EU rules on State aid were reformed in 2014, for example by extending considerably the scope of application of the EU’s General Block Exemption Regulation. This means in practice that the Commission's State aid monitoring is now focused more on ex-post supervision of State aid measures and only aid measures that have the most distortive impact on competition are notified to the Commission in advance.
The reform gave the Members States more freedom but at the same time, more responsibility for implementing the rules. The risk is that joint rules on State aid are interpreted differently in different Member States.
“To ensure uniform implementation it is therefore important that the Commission and the Member States meet regularly for topical discussion,” says Tanja Müller, Senior Specialist from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Other topics in the Helsinki meeting include a situation update given by the Commission on the fitness check of the State aid rules issued in 2014. Mika Maliranta, Research Professor, will talk about the effect of State aid on competition and competitiveness from the viewpoint of academic research.
State aid regulation and monitoring aim at functioning internal market
The EU rules on State aid determine what kind of public aid is allowed for business activities and what procedures should be followed when granting aid. In Finland, State aid is granted by Business Finland, Finnvera, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Regional Councils, and municipalities and joint municipal authorities.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment coordinates the implementation of the EU rules on State aid in Finland apart from the administrative sector of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Tanja Müller, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 068
Niina Puolusmäki, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 102