On 8 May 2012, the European Commission adopted a Communication on "EU State Aid Modernisation", launching a process of comprehensive reform of the European State Aid control system.
The reform was developed around three objectives linked to closely interdependent operational proposals:
- Promoting growth within a strengthened, dynamic and competitive internal market;
- Pre-eminently applying the rules on those cases with greatest impact on the internal market;
- Rationalising rules and making faster decisions.
The proposals specifically concerned:
- Clarifying and better explaining the notion of State Aid;
- Defining common principles for assessing State Aid compatibility with the internal market;
- Reformulating the main guidelines to bring them in line with common principles defined in the context of modernisation
The EU Commission's work started with the review of the guidelines on regional State Aid, aid for research and development and innovation, environmental aid, risk capital aid and broadband investment aid and continued with the review of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), the de minimis Regulation and the Procedural Regulation.
The Department for European Policies coordinated the central and regional administrations sharing the principles and objectives of the Communication. Specifically::
- Most efficient use of public resources;
- The principle of proportionality;
- Increased ex-post control by the Commission;
- Minimising distortive effects to ensure the best implementation of the internal market.
The EU Commission calls for greater simplification to be complemented with greater transparency of aid, strengthened enforcement of State Aid rules at a national and European level, and effective assessment.