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De minimis rule — exemption of small aid amounts from notification

De minimis rule — exemption of small aid amounts from notification

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 on de minimis aid for state aid

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

It disciplines small state aid amounts (so-called De minimis aid) that are exempted from state aid control as they are deemed to have no impact on competition and trade in the EU’s internal market.

De minimis aid indeed refers to small amounts of state aid to undertakings (essentially companies) that EU countries do not have to notify the European Commission about. The maximum amount is EUR 200 000 for each undertaking over a 3-year period.

KEY POINTS

State funding, meeting the criteria in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), constitutes State aid and requires notification to the Commission by virtue of Article 108(3) of the TFEU. However, the Council may determine categories of aid that are exempted from this notification requirement and the Commission may adopt regulations relating to those categories of State aid. De minimis aid could constitute one such category and therefore not subject to the notification procedure.

In 2006, the Commission adopted a de minimis regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1998/2006) which was valid for the period from 2007 to 2013. It doubled the ceiling for exempted aid amounts from EUR 100 000 for each company per 3-year period to EUR 200 000. This increase took account not only of the evolution of inflation and gross domestic product in the EU up to 2006, but also of the likely development of these factors from 2007 to 2013. Because of the financial crisis, real inflation was considerably lower than anticipated in 2006. A further increase in the ceiling was therefore not warranted on these grounds.

In the current Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013, which revises and replaces Regulation (EC) No 1998/2006, the treatment of small aid measures is further simplified. In particular, companies experiencing financial difficulties are no longer excluded from the scope of the regulation and will therefore be allowed to receive de minimis aid.

In addition, the definition of what constitutes an ‘undertaking’ has been simplified and clarified. The details of this can be read in Article 2.2 of the regulation.

Furthermore, subsidised loans of up to EUR 1 million may also benefit from the de minimis regulation if certain conditions are met. More details can be read in Article 4 of the regulation.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It has applied since 1 January 2014. It shall apply until 31 December 2020.

BACKGROUND

Following the COVID-19 outbreak and introducing measures to cope with the impact of the crisis, the European Commission adopted:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid (OJ L 352, 24.12.2013, pp. 1-8)

last update 02.06.2020

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