Communication from the Commission — Multisectoral framework on regional aid for large investment projects (notified under document No C(2002) 315) (Text with EEA relevance)
OJ C 70, 19.3.2002, p. 8–20 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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Communication from the Commission
Multisectoral framework on regional aid for large investment projects
(notified under document No C(2002) 315)
(Text with EEA relevance)
1. INTRODUCTION: SCOPE OF THE MEASURE
1. On 16 December 1997, the Commission adopted the "Multisectoral framework on regional aid for large investment projects"(1). The multisectoral framework became applicable from 1 September 1998 for an initial trial period of three years. Its validity was extended in 2001 until 31 December 2002.
2. In accordance with point 4.1 of the multisectoral framework, the Commission conducted a review in 2001 and concluded that it had to be revised. It also considered that the specific sectoral frameworks should be integrated into the new multisectoral framework.
3. This framework only applies to regional aid, as defined by the "Guidelines on national regional aid"(2), that aims to promote initial investment, including job creation linked to initial investment, on the basis of Article 87(3)(a) and (c) of the Treaty. This framework is without prejudice to the assessment of aid proposals under other provisions of the Treaty such as Article 87(3)(b) or (d). For the steel and synthetic fibres sectors, it also applies to large individual aid grants for small and medium-sized undertakings that are not exempted by Commission Regulation (EC) No 70/2001(3). This framework does not apply to restructuring aid cases, which will continue to be covered by the Community guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty(4). Similarly, this framework will not affect the operation of the existing horizontal frameworks, such as the Community framework for State aid for research and development(5) and the Community guidelines on State aid for environmental protection(6).
4. This framework does not affect the operation of the specific State aid rules that apply to the agriculture, fisheries and transport sectors and to the coal industry.
5. The aid intensity of regional investment aid that is not exempted from the notification obligation laid down in Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty by an exemption regulation adopted by the Commission on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No 994/98(7) will be limited on the basis of the criteria laid down in this framework.
6. Under this framework no advance notification of aid below certain thresholds for large investment projects is required, provided that aid is granted in accordance with an aid scheme approved by the Commission. However, this framework does not affect the Member States' obligation to notify new individual (ad-hoc) aid that is not exempted from the notification obligation laid down in Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty by an exemption regulation adopted by the Commission on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 994/98. The rules laid down in this framework apply also to the assessment of such individual (ad-hoc) State aid measures.
2. THE NEED FOR THE MEASURE
2.1. The reasons to have a simple and transparent instrument
7. Compared to the previous multisectoral framework, this framework is a simpler instrument. The Commission considers that regional investment aid to large projects should be controlled in a simple and transparent way. On the basis of experience with the previous multisectoral framework, the Commission has introduced several simplifications, changes and clarifications.
8. Firstly, the previous multisectoral framework did not have a significant impact on State aid levels for large investment projects in the Community. The Commission considers it necessary to have a restrictive approach with regard to regional aid granted to large-scale projects, whilst preserving the attraction of the less favoured regions. The need for a more restrictive approach on regional aid to large-scale mobile investment projects has been widely acknowledged in recent years. The completion of the single market makes it more important than ever to maintain tight controls on State aid for such projects, since the distortive effect of aid is magnified as other government-induced distortions of competition are eliminated and markets become more open and integrated. An appropriate balance between the three core objectives of Community policy, namely undistorted competition in the internal market, economic and social cohesion, and industrial competitiveness, must therefore entail stricter rules for regional aid granted to large-scale projects.
9. Secondly, the incorporation of several frameworks into a unified instrument will have the effect of simplifying the existing legislation and increasing the accountability and transparency of State aid control.
10. Third, the utilisation of a much simpler instrument will reduce the administrative burden within the administrations and will enhance the predictability of decisions of allowable aid amounts for investors and administrations alike.
11. And fourth, in order to prevent serious distortions of competition, the framework provides for stricter rules for sectors suffering from structural problems.
2.2. The need for a more systematic control on regional aid to large-scale mobile investment projects
12. The maximum aid ceilings fixed by the Commission for all areas eligible for regional aid are in general designed to provide an appropriate level of incentive necessary for the development of the assisted regions. However, as they provide a single ceiling, they are usually in excess of the regional handicaps when applied to large-scale projects. The purpose of this framework is to limit the level of incentive available for large projects to a level that avoids as much as possible unnecessary distortions of competition.
13. Large investments can effectively contribute to regional development, amongst other things by attracting other companies to the region and introducing advanced technologies as well as by contributing to the training of workers. However, these investments are less affected by important region-specific problems in disadvantaged areas. First of all, large investments can produce economies of scale that reduce location-specific initial costs. Secondly, they are in many respects not tied to the region in which the physical investment takes place. Large investments can easily obtain capital and credit on global markets and are not constrained by the more limited offer of financial services in a particular disadvantaged region. Moreover, companies making large investments can access a geographically wider pool of labour, and can more easily transfer a skilled workforce to the chosen location.
14. At the same time, if large investments receive large amounts of State aid by benefiting from the full regional ceilings, there is an increased risk that trade will be affected and thus of a stronger distortion effect vis-à-vis competitors in other Member States. This is because the beneficiary of the aid is more likely to be a significant player on the market concerned and, consequently, the investment for which the aid is awarded may modify the conditions of competition in that market.
15. Additionally, companies making large investments usually possess a considerable bargaining power vis-à-vis the authorities granting aid. Indeed, investors in large projects often consider alternative sites in different Member States, which may lead to a spiral of increasingly generous promises of aid, possibly to a level much higher than what is necessary to compensate for the regional handicaps.
16. The outcome of such subsidy auctions is likely to be that large investments receive aid intensities that exceed the additional costs resulting from the choice of locating the investment in a disadvantaged area.
17. The amount of aid exceeding the minimum necessary to compensate for the regional disadvantages is a very likely cause of perverse effects (inefficient location choices), higher distortion of competition and, since aid is a costly transfer from taxpayers in favour of aid recipients, net welfare losses.
18. Recent experience has shown that large investment projects benefiting from regional investment aid are more capital-intensive than smaller investment projects. As a consequence, a more favourable treatment of smaller investment projects translates into a more favourable treatment in assisted areas of projects that are more labour intensive, thus contributing to job creation and unemployment reduction.
19. Certain types of investment are likely to cause serious distortion of competition, and their beneficial effect on the region concerned is doubtful. This is true in particular for investments in sectors where a single company has a high market share, or where the existing sectoral production capacity increases significantly, without a corresponding increase in demand for the products concerned. More generally, distortion of competition is likely in sectors suffering from structural problems, where the existing production capacity already exceeds the market demand for the product, or where the demand for the products concerned is persistently declining.
20. In line with Article 159 of the EC Treaty, due account must be taken of the coherence between the State aid decisions taken pursuant to this framework and the actions of the structural funds leading to a strengthening of the economic and social cohesion of the Community, in particular those aimed at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions, and the backwardness of the least-favoured regions. Projects co-financed from the structural funds effectively contribute to economic and social cohesion within the Community and should therefore be duly taken into consideration.
3. REDUCTION OF AID LEVELS FOR LARGE INVESTMENT PROJECTS
21. Without prejudice to the compatibility criteria laid down in the guidelines on national regional aid and in Regulation (EC) No 70/2001, and without prejudice to the notification obligation laid down in point 24 or to the transitional rules laid down in section 8, regional investment aid concerning investments involving eligible expenditure(8) for the thresholds set out below shall be subject to an adjusted lower regional aid ceiling, on the basis of the following scale:
22. Thus, the allowable aid amount for a project above EUR 50 million will be calculated according to the formula: maximum aid amount = R × (50 + 0,50 B + 0,34 C); where R is the unadjusted regional ceiling; B is the eligible expenditure between EUR 50 million and EUR 100 million; and C is the eligible expenditure above EUR 100 million, if any(9).
23. By way of example, for a large company investing EUR 80 million in an assisted area where the unadjusted regional aid ceiling is 25 % net grant equivalent (nge), the maximum allowable aid amount would be EUR 16,25 million nge, which corresponds to an aid intensity of 20,3 % nge. For a large company investing EUR 160 million in the same area, the maximum allowable aid amount would be EUR 23,85 million nge, which corresponds to an aid intensity of 14,9 % nge.
24. However, Member States are required to notify every case of regional investment aid if the aid proposed is more than the maximum allowable aid that an investment of EUR 100 million can obtain under the scale and the rules laid down in paragraph 21(10). Individually notifiable projects will not be eligible for investment aid in either of the following two situations:
(a) the aid beneficiary accounts for more than 25 % of the sales of the product concerned before the investment or will, after the investment, account for more than 25 %; or
(b) the capacity created by the project is more than 5 % of the size of the market measured using apparent consumption data of the product concerned, unless the average annual growth rate of its apparent consumption over the last five years is above the average annual growth rate of the European Economic Areas's GDP.
The burden of proving that the situations to which points (a) and (b) refer do not obtain lies with the Member State(11). For the purpose of applying points (a) and (b) apparent consumption will be defined at the appropriate level of the Prodcom classification(12) in the EEA, or, if such information is not available, on the basis of any other market segmentation generally accepted for the products concerned and for which statistical data are readily available.
25. The maximum allowable aid intensity that a notifiable project can receive under point 24 may be increased by multiplying it by the factor 1,15 if the project is co-financed from structural funds resources as a major project within the meaning of Article 25 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the structural funds(13), in line with the provisions laid down in Article 26 of the same Regulation. The rate of co-financing must be at least 10 % of the total public expenditure, if the project is located in an area eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(c) of the Treaty and at least 25 % of the total public expenditure if the project is located in an area eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(a) thereof.
26. However, the aid increase resulting from point 25 must not lead to an aid intensity higher than the maximum aid intensity allowed for an investment of EUR 100 million, i.e. 75 % of the unadjusted regional aid ceiling.
4. AN AID PROHIBITION FOR INVESTMENT PROJECTS IN THE STEEL INDUSTRY
27. As regards the steel industry as defined in Annex B to this framework(14), the Commission notes that for a fairly long period of time, ECSC steel companies functioned without recourse to investment aid such as had been available to the rest of the industrial sectors. Steel companies have integrated this factor in their strategies and are used to it. Given the specific features of the steel sector (in particular its structure, the existing over-capacity at European and world level, its highly capital intensive nature, the location of the majority of steel plants in regions eligible for regional aid, the substantial amounts of public funds devoted to the restructuring of the steel sector, and the conversion of the steel areas) and the experience gained when less strict rules on State aid applied in the past, it appears justified to continue to prohibit investment aid to this sector, irrespective of the size of the investment. Accordingly, the Commission considers that regional aid to the steel industry is not compatible with the common market. This incompatibility also applies to large individual aid grants made to small and medium-sized enterprises within the meaning of Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 70/2001, which are not exempted by the same Regulation.
5. INVESTMENT PROJECTS IN SECTORS WITH STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS OTHER THAN STEEL
28. The Commission has consistently considered in the past that investment in sectors that do, or might, suffer from serious overcapacity or persistent decline in demand increase the risk of distortion of competition, without bringing the necessary counterbalancing benefits to the region concerned. The proper way to recognise that these investments are less beneficial from a regional point of view is to reduce investment aid to projects in sectors where structural problems prevail, to a level below that permitted for other sectors.
29. Until now, several sensitive industrial sectors have been subject to specific, stricter rules on State aid(15). In accordance with point 1.3 of the previous multisectoral framework, these specific sectoral rules continued to apply.
30. One of the objectives of the previous multisectoral framework was to provide for the possibility of replacing the existing sectoral rules with a single instrument. Subject to the transitional rules laid down in section 8 below, the Commission wishes through the present revision to include these sensitive industrial sectors within this framework.
31. By 31 December 2003, sectors where serious structural problems prevail will be specified in a list of sectors annexed to the framework. No regional investment aid will be authorised in these sectors, subject to the provisions laid down in this section.
32. For the purpose of drawing up the list of sectors, serious structural problems will in principle be measured on the basis of apparent consumption data, at the appropriate level of the CPA classification(16) in the EEA, or, if such information is not available, on the basis of any other market segmentation generally accepted for the products concerned and for which statistical data are readily available. Serious structural problems will be deemed to exist when the sector concerned is declining(17). The list of sectors shall be updated periodically, with a frequency to be determined at the time at which the list of sectors is decided.
33. As from 1 January 2004, and for sectors included in the list of sectors with serious structural problems, all regional investment aid concerning an investment project involving eligible expenditure above an amount to be determined by the Commission at the time of drawing up the list of sectors(18) must be individually notified to the Commission, without prejudice to the provisions laid down in Regulation (EC) No 70/2001. The Commission will examine such notifications in accordance with the following rules: firstly, the aid project must comply with the general assessment criteria laid down in the guidelines on national regional aid; secondly, the eligible expenditure as defined under point 50 exceeding an amount to be determined by the Commission at the time of drawing up the list of sectors will not be eligible for investment aid, except for the cases referred to in point 34.
34. By way of derogation from point 33, the Commission may authorise investment aid for sectors included in the list of sectors on the basis of the aid intensities laid down in section 3 of this framework, provided that the Member State demonstrates that, although the sector is deemed to be in decline, the market for the product concerned is fast growing(19).
6. EX-POST MONITORING
35. In drawing up this framework, the Commission has attempted to ensure that, as far as possible, it is clear, unambiguous, predictable and efficient and that the additional administrative burden it entails is kept to a minimum.
36. In order to ensure transparency and effective monitoring, it is appropriate to establish a standard format in which Member States should provide the Commission with summary information in the form laid down in Annex A, whenever aid for investments above EUR 50 million is granted in pursuance of this framework. On implementation of aid falling under this framework, Member States must, within 20 working days starting from the granting of the aid by the competent authority, forward to the Commission such summary information. The Commission will make this information available to the public through its website (http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/).
37. Member States must maintain detailed records regarding the granting of individual aid falling under this framework. Such records must contain all information necessary to establish that the maximum aid intensity determined under this framework is observed. Member States must keep a record regarding an individual aid for 10 years from the date on which it was granted. On written request, the Member State concerned must provide the Commission, within a period of 20 working days or such longer period as may be fixed in the request, with all the information that the Commission considers necessary to assess whether the provisions of this framework have been complied with.
7. VALIDITY OF THE FRAMEWORK
38. This framework will be applicable for a period ending on 31 December 2009. Before 31 December 2009, the Commission will evaluate the framework. The Commission may amend this framework before 31 December 2009 on the basis of important competition policy considerations or in order to take into account other Community policies or international commitments. Such review will not, however, affect the prohibition of investment aid to the steel industry.
39. As regards the steel sector as defined in Annex B, the provisions of the framework will be applied as from 24 July 2002. The existing specific sectoral rules for certain steel sectors not covered by the ECSC Treaty(20) will cease to be applicable from that date. As regards the motor vehicle sector as defined in Annex C, and the synthetic fibres sector as defined in Annex D, the provisions of the framework will be applied as from 1 January 2003. However, notifications registered by the Commission before 1 January 2003 for the motor vehicle sector and the synthetic fibres sector will be examined in the light of the criteria in force at the time of notification.
40. As regards sectors other than those mentioned in point 39, the provisions of this framework will be applied as from 1 January 2004. The previous multisectoral framework will remain applicable until 31 December 2003. However, notifications registered by the Commission before 1 January 2004 will be examined in the light of the criteria in force at the time of notification.
41. The Commission will examine the compatibility with the common market of investment aid granted without its authorisation:
(a) on the basis of the criteria set out in this framework if the aid was granted:
- on or after 24 July 2002, as regards investment aid to the steel sector,
- on or after 1 January 2003, as regards investment aid to the motor vehicle sector, and the synthetic fibres sector,
- on or after 1 January 2004, as regards investment aid to all other sectors subject to this framework;
(b) on the basis of the criteria in force at the time the aid was granted, in all other cases.
8. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
42. Until the date of applicability of the list of sectors to which point 31 refers, and without prejudice to Regulation (EC) No 70/2001:
(a) the maximum aid intensity for regional investment aid in the motor vehicle sector as defined in Annex C granted under an approved scheme in favour of projects that involve either eligible expenditure above EUR 50 million or an aid amount above EUR 5 million expressed in gross grant equivalent, will be equal to 30 % of the corresponding regional aid ceiling(21);
(b) no expenditure incurred in the context of investment projects in the synthetic fibres sector as defined in Annex D will be eligible for investment aid.
43. Before the date of applicability of the list of sectors to which point 31 refers, the Commission will decide whether and to what extent the motor vehicle sector as defined in Annex C and the synthetic fibres sector as defined in Annex D must be included in the list of sectors.
44. As regards the shipbuilding sector, the existing rules under Regulation (EC) No 1540/98 will be in force until 31 December 2003. Before this date, the Commission will have examined whether aid to the shipbuilding sector is to be covered by this framework and included in the list of sectors.
9. APPROPRIATE MEASURES
45. In order to ensure the implementation of the rules laid down in this framework, the Commission will propose appropriate measures within the meaning of Article 88(1) of the Treaty. These appropriate measures will include the following:
(a) modifying existing regional aid maps by adapting:
- as from 24 July 2002 the current regional aid ceilings to the aid intensities resulting from the rules laid down in section 4 of this framework,
- as from 1 January 2003 the current regional aid ceilings to the aid intensities resulting from the rules laid down in section 8,
- as from 1 January 2004 the current regional aid ceilings to the aid intensities resulting from the rules laid down in section 3;
(b) adjusting all existing regional aid schemes, as defined by the guidelines on national regional aid, including those exempted from notification pursuant to a block exemption regulation, in order to make sure that for regional investment aid granted:
(i) they respect the regional aid ceilings as laid down in the regional aid maps, as modified in accordance with (a) above as from 1 January 2004, as regards sectors other than those mentioned in point 39;
(ii) they provide for the individual notification of regional investment aid where the aid is more than the maximum allowable aid that an investment of EUR 100 million can obtain under the scale shown in point 21 of this framework as from 1 January 2004;
(iii) they exclude from their scope aid to the steel industry as from 24 July 2002;
(iv) they exclude from their scope aid to the synthetic fibres industry as from 1 January 2003 and until the list of sectors becomes applicable;
(v) they limit regional investment aid in the motor vehicle sector as defined in Annex C in favour of projects that involve either eligible expenditure above EUR 50 million or an aid amount above EUR 5 million expressed in gross grant equivalent to 30 % of the corresponding regional aid ceiling, as from 1 January 2003 and until the list of sectors becomes applicable;
(c) ensuring that the forms mentioned in point 36 are forwarded to the Commission from the date this framework becomes applicable;
(d) ensuring that the records mentioned in point 37 are maintained as from the date this framework becomes applicable;
(e) complying, until 31 December 2003, with the rules of the previous multisectoral framework on regional aid for large investment projects, and in particular with the notification requirements laid down therein.
46. The necessary amendments must be made by the Member States within a period ending on 31 December 2003, except for the measures regarding the steel sector, for which the amendments must be in place from 24 July 2002, and regarding the synthetic fibres sector and the motor vehicle sector for which the amendments must be in place as from 1 January 2003. The Member States are invited to give their explicit agreement to the proposed appropriate measures within 20 working days from the date on which the letter is notified to them. In the absence of any reply, the Commission will assume that the Member State in question does not agree with the proposed measures.
10. NOTIFICATIONS UNDER THIS FRAMEWORK
47. Member States are invited to use the notification form attached to this framework (Annex E) for the purpose of notifying aid proposals pursuant to this framework.
11. DEFINITION OF TERMS USED
48. The following definitions of the terms used in this framework will apply:
11.1. Investment project
49. "Investment project" means an initial investment within the meaning of section 4 of the guidelines on national regional aid. An investment project should not be artificially divided into sub-projects in order to escape the provisions of this framework. For the purpose of this framework an investment project includes all the fixed investments on a site, made by one or more undertakings, in a period of three years. For the purpose of this framework, a production site is an economically indivisible series of fixed capital items fulfilling a precise technical function, linked by a physical or functional link, and which have clearly identified aims, such as the production of a defined product. Where two or more products are produced from the same raw materials, the production units of such products will be deemed to constitute a single production site.
11.2. Eligible expenditure
50. "Eligible expenditure" shall be determined in accordance with the rules laid down in the guidelines on national regional aid for this purpose.
11.3. Regional aid ceiling
51. "Regional aid ceiling" refers to the maximum aid intensity authorised for large companies in the assisted area concerned at the time of the granting of the aid. Maximum aid intensities are determined in accordance with the guidelines on national regional aid, on the basis of the regional aid map approved by the Commission.
11.4. Product concerned
52. "Product concerned" means the product envisaged by the investment project and, where appropriate, its substitutes considered to be such, either by the consumer (by reason of the product's characteristics, prices and intended use) or by the producer (through flexibility of the production installations). When the project concerns an intermediate product and a significant part of the output is not sold on the market, the product concerned will be deemed to include the downstream products.
11.5. Apparent consumption
53. "Apparent consumption" of the product concerned is production plus imports minus exports.
54. Where the Commission determines in accordance with this framework the average annual growth of the apparent consumption of the product concerned, it will take into consideration, where appropriate, any significant change in that trend.
55. Where the investment project concerns a service sector, and in order to determine the size and the evolution of the market, the Commission will, instead of using apparent consumption, use the turnover of the services concerned on the basis of the market segmentation generally accepted for the services concerned and for which statistical data are readily available.
(1) OJ C 107, 7.4.1998, p. 7.
(2) OJ C 74, 10.3.1998, p. 9.
(3) OJ L 10, 13.1.2001, p. 33.
(4) OJ C 288, 9.10.1999, p. 2.
(5) OJ C 45, 17.2.1996, p. 5.
(6) OJ C 37, 3.2.2001, p. 3.
(7) OJ L 142, 14.5.1998, p. 1.
(8) Under the guidelines on national regional aid, the eligible expenditure for regional investment aid is defined either by the rules laid down in its points 4.5 and 4.6 (option 1) or by the rules laid down in its point 4.13 (option 2). In line with point 4.19 of the guidelines on national regional aid, aid calculated on the basis of option 1 ("investment aid") can be combined with aid calculated on the basis of option 2 ("job creation aid") provided the combined amount of aid does not exceed the regional aid ceiling multiplied by the higher of the two possible eligible expenditures. In line with this rule, and for the purposes of the present framework, the eligible expenditure of a specific investment project is defined on the basis of the option that leads to the higher amount. The eligible expenditure amount will be determined in such a way as not to exceed the higher investment amount resulting from the higher of the job creation method and the initial investment method, subject to the intensity ceiling laid down for the region.
(9) The table below further illustrates, for specific sizes of eligible expenditure and for specific regional ceilings, the aid intensities that could be allowed under the reduction scale.
(10) Proposals to award ad-hoc aid must in any event be notified and will be assessed on the basis of the rules laid down in section 3 of the Framework, and in line with the general assessment criteria laid down in the guidelines on national regional aid.
(11) If the Member State demonstrates that the aid beneficiary creates, through genuine innovation, a new product market, the tests laid down in letters (a) and (b) do not need to be carried out, and the aid will be authorised under the scale in paragraph 21.
(12) Council Regulation (EEC) No 3924/91 of 19 December 1991 on the establishment of a Community survey of industrial production (OJ L 374, 31.12.1991, p. 1).
(13) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999, p. 1.
(14) It includes the steel sectors currently covered by the ECSC Treaty as well as the sub-sectors of seamless tubes and large welded tubes, currently not covered by the ECSC Treaty, but which form part of an integrated production process and which have similar features to the steel sector covered by the ECSC Treaty.
(15) Code on aid to the synthetic fibres industry (OJ C 94, 30.3.1996, p. 11) and Community framework on State aid to the motor vehicle industry (OJ C 279, 15.9.1997, p. 1); aid to shipbuilding is covered by Council Regulation (EC) No 1540/98 of 29 June 1998 establishing new rules on aid to shipbuilding (OJ L 202, 18.7.1998, p. 1).
(16) Council Regulation (EEC) No 3696/93 of 29 October 1993 on the statistical classification of products by activity (CPA) in the European Economic Community (OJ L 342, 31.12.1993, p. 1), as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 204/2002 (OJ L 36, 6.2.2002, p. 1).
(17) A strong presumption of sectoral decline can arise from a negative average annual growth rate of apparent consumption in the EEA over the last five years.
(18) This amount can in principle be set at EUR 25 million but may vary from sector to sector.
(19) The market for the product concerned will be deemed to be fast growing if apparent consumption over the last five years at the appropriate level of the Prodcom classification in the EEA, or, if such information is not available, on the basis of another market segmentation generally accepted for the products concerned and for which statistical data are readily available, is growing in value terms by an average rate equal to or above the average growth of the EEA's GDP.
(20) OJ C 320, 13.12.1988, p. 3.
(21) Proposals to award ad-hoc aid must in any event be notified and will be assessed on the basis of this rule, and in line with the general assessment criteria laid down in the guidelines on national regional aid.
FORM FOR EX-POST MONITORING
- Scheme title (or indicate if it is an "ad-hoc" aid)
- Public entity providing the assistance
- If the legal basis is an aid scheme approved by the Commission, provide the date of the approval and the State aid case reference number
- Specify the region and the municipality
- Specify company name, whether it is an SME or a large company and, where relevant, the name of the parent companies
- Specify the type of the project and whether it is a new establishment or a capacity expansion or other
- Specify the total cost and the eligible cost of capital expenditure to be invested over the lifetime of the project
- Nominal amount of support and its gross and net grant equivalent
- Provide the conditions attached to the payment of the proposed assistance, if any
- Products or services concerned and their Prodcom nomenclature or CPA nomenclature for projects in the service sectors.
DEFINITION OF THE STEEL INDUSTRY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE MULTISECTORAL FRAMEWORK
The steel industry, for the purposes of the multisectoral framework consists of the undertakings engaged in the production of the steel products listed below:
DEFINITION OF MOTOR VEHICLE INDUSTRY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE MULTISECTORAL FRAMEWORK
The "motor vehicle industry" means the development, manufacture and assembly of "motor vehicles", "engines" for motor vehicles and "modules or sub-systems" for such vehicles or engines, either direct by a manufacturer or by a "first-tier component supplier" and, in the latter case, only in the context of an "overall project".
(a) Motor vehicles The term "motor vehicles" means passenger cars, vans, trucks, road tractors, buses, coaches and other commercial vehicles. It does not include racing cars, vehicles intended for off-road use (for example, vehicles designed for use on snow or for carrying persons on golf courses), motorcycles, trailers, agricultural and forestry tractors, caravans, special purpose vehicles (for example, firefighting vehicles, mobile workshops), dump trucks, works' trucks (for example, forklift trucks, straddle carrier trucks and platform trucks) and military vehicles intended for armies.
(b) Engines for motor vehicles The term "motor vehicle engines" means compression and spark ignition engines as well as electric motors and turbine, gas, hybrid or other engines for motor vehicles.
(c) Modules and sub-systems A "module" or a "sub-system" means a set of primary components intended for a vehicle or engine which is produced, assembled or fitted by a first-tier component supplier and supplied through a computerised ordering system or on a just-in-time basis. Logistical supply and storage systems and subcontracted complete operations which form part of the production chain, such as the painting of sub-assemblies, should likewise be classified among these modules and sub-systems.
(d) First-tier component suppliers A "first-tier component supplier" means a supplier, whether independent or not, supplying a manufacturer, sharing responsibility for design and development (12), and manufacturing, assembling or supplying a vehicle manufacturer during the manufacturing or assembly stage with sub-assemblies or modules. As industrial partners, such suppliers are often linked to a manufacturer by a contract of approximately the same duration as the life of the model (for example, until the model is restyled). A first-tier component supplier may also supply services, especially logistical services, such as the management of a supply centre.
(e) Overall project A manufacturer may, on the actual site of the investment or in one or several industrial parks in fairly close geographical proximity (13), integrate one or more projects of first-tier component suppliers for the supply of modules or sub-systems for the vehicles or engines being produced. An "overall project" means one which groups together such projects. An overall project lasts for the life of the vehicle manufacturer's investment project. An investment of one first-tier component supplier is integrated within the definition of a global project if at least half the output resulting from that investment is delivered to the manufacturer concerned at the plant in question.
DEFINITION OF SYNTHETIC FIBRES INDUSTRY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE MULTISECTORAL FRAMEWORK
The synthetic fibres industry is defined, for the purposes of the multisectoral framework, as:
- extrusion/texturisation of all generic types of fibre and yarn based on polyester, polyamide, acrylic or polypropylene, irrespective of their end-uses, or
- polymerisation (including polycondensation) where it is integrated with extrusion in terms of the machinery used, or
- any ancillary process linked to the contemporaneous installation of extrusion/texturisation capacity by the prospective beneficiary or by another company in the group to which it belongs and which, in the specific business activity concerned, is normally integrated with such capacity in terms of the machinery used.
SECTION 1 - MEMBER STATE
1.1. Information on notifying public authority:
1.1.1. Name and address of notifying authority.
1.1.2. Name, telephone, fax and e-mail address of, and position held by, the person(s) to be contacted in case of further inquiry.
1.2. Information of contact in permanent representation:
1.2.1. Name, telephone, fax and e-mail address of, and position held by, the person to be contacted in case of further inquiry.
SECTION 2 - AID RECIPIENT
2.1. Structure of the company or companies investing in the project:
2.1.1. Identity of aid recipient.
2.1.2. If the legal identity of the aid recipient is different from the undertaking(s) that finance(s) the project or that receive(s) the aid, describe also these differences.
2.1.3. Identify the parent group of the aid recipient, describe the group structure and ownership structure of each parent company.
2.2. For a company or companies investing in the project, provide the following data for the last three financial years:
2.2.1. Worldwide turnover, EEA turnover, turnover in Member State concerned.
2.2.2. Profit after tax and cash flow (on a consolidated basis).
2.2.3. Employment worldwide, at EEA level and in Member State concerned.
2.2.4. Market breakdown of sales in the Member State concerned, in the rest of the EEA and outside the EEA.
2.2.5. Audited financial statements and annual report for the last three years.
2.3. If the investment takes place in an existing industrial location, provide the following data for the last three financial years of that entity:
2.3.1. Total turnover.
2.3.2. Profit after tax and cash flow.
2.3.4. Market breakdown of sales: in the Member State concerned, in the rest of the EEA and outside the EEA.
SECTION 3 - PROVISION OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
For each measure of proposed public assistance, provide the following:
3.1.1. Scheme title (or indicate if it is an ad-hoc aid).
3.1.2. Legal basis (law, decree, etc.).
3.1.3. Public entity providing the assistance.
3.1.4. If the legal basis is an aid scheme approved by the Commission, provide the date of the approval and the State aid case reference number.
3.2. Form of the proposed assistance:
3.2.1. Is the proposed assistance a grant, interest subsidy, reduction in social security contributions, tax credit (relief), equity participation, debt conversion or write off, soft loan, deferred tax provision, amount covered by a guarantee scheme, etc.?
3.2.2. Provide the conditions attached to the payment of the proposed assistance.
3.3. Amount of the proposed assistance:
3.3.1. Nominal amount of support and its gross and net grant equivalent.
3.3.2. Is the assistance measure subject to corporate tax (or other direct taxation)? If only partially, to what extent?
3.3.3. Provide a complete schedule of the payment of the proposed assistance. For the package of proposed public assistance, provide the following:
3.4. The characteristics of the assistance measures:
3.4.1. Are any of the assistance measures of the overall package not yet defined? If yes, specify.
3.4.2. Indicate which of the abovementioned measures does not constitute State aid and for what reason(s).
3.5. Financing from Community sources (EIB, ECSC instruments, Social Fund, Regional Fund, other):
3.5.1. Are some of the abovementioned measures to be co-financed by Community funds? Explain.
3.5.2. Is some additional support for the same project to be requested from any other European or international financing institutions? If so, for what amounts?
3.6. Cumulation of public assistance measures:
3.6.1. Estimated gross grant equivalent (before taxation) of the combined aid measures.
3.6.2. Estimated net grant equivalent (after taxation) of the combined aid measures.
SECTION 4 - ASSISTED PROJECT
4.1. Location of the project:
4.1.1. Specify the region and the municipality as well as the address.
4.2. Duration of the project:
4.2.1. Specify the start date of the investment project as well as the completion date of the investment.
4.2.2. Specify the planned start date of the new production and the year by which full production may be reached.
4.3. Description of the project:
4.3.1. Specify the type of the project and whether it is a new establishment or a capacity expansion or other.
4.3.2. Provide a short general description of the project.
4.4. Breakdown of the project costs:
4.4.1. Specify the total cost of capital expenditure to be invested and depreciated over the lifetime of the project.
4.4.2. Provide a detailed breakdown of the capital and non-capital (2) expenditure associated with the investment project.
4.5. Financing of total project costs:
4.5.1. Indicate the financing of the total cost of the investment project.
SECTION 5 - PRODUCT AND MARKET CHARACTERISTICS
5.1. Characterisation of product(s) envisaged by the project:
5.1.1. Specify the product(s) that will be produced in the aided facility upon the completion of the investment and the relevant (sub-)sector(s) to which the product(s) belong(s) (indicate the Prodcom code or CPA nomenclature for projects in the service sectors).
5.1.2. What product(s) will it replace? If these replaced products are not produced at the same location, indicate where they are currently produced.
5.1.3. What other product(s) can be produced with the same new facilities at little or no additional cost?
5.2. Capacity considerations:
5.2.1. Quantify the impact of the project on the aid recipient's total viable capacity in the EEA (including at group level) for each of the product(s) concerned (in units per year in the year preceding the start year and on completion of the project).
5.2.2. Provide an estimate of the total capacity of all EEA producers for each of the products concerned.
5.3. Market data:
5.3.1. Provide for each of the last six financial years data on apparent consumption of the product(s) concerned. If available, include statistics prepared by other sources to illustrate the answer.
5.3.2. Provide for the next three financial years a forecast of the evolution of apparent consumption of the product(s) concerned. If available, include statistics prepared by independent sources to illustrate the answer.
5.3.3. Is the relevant market in decline and for what reasons?
5.3.4. An estimate of the market shares (in value) of the aid recipient or of the group to which the aid recipient belongs in the year preceding the start year and on completion of the project.
(1) For aid granted outside authorised schemes, the Member State must provide information detailing the beneficial effects of the aid on the assisted area concerned.