State aid

State aid rules are essential to help avoid distortions of competition due to member states intervening in support of certain firms. Strengthening state aid mechanisms is key to further improve the functioning of the single market and must go hand in hand with a strong focus on stimulus and growth.

It is important to further increase discipline in the field of state aid, in particular by strengthening preventive measures and considering ways to concretely increase responsibilities for member states in case of breach.

Decentralisation of EU state aid

In recent years, more and more aid has been exempted from the European Commission’s centralised control.  Decentralisation risks leading to subjective application of the rules by member states and increased illegal state aid with detrimental effects to free and fair competition. Decentralisation needs to be counterbalanced by increased legal certainty and clarity, as well as more transparency and reporting obligations for member states.

Global dimension of EU state aid

The global dimension deserves special attention in the EU state aid framework: state aid rules only arrange for a level playing field within Europe, without ensuring also a level playing field for Europe’s industry in competing worldwide, especially in industrial sectors supported by stimulus measures in other regions.

Last updated: 6 April 2020