On the 21st May 2014 the European Commission has adopted a revised General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) for state aid. The Regulation is part of the ‘State Aid Modernisation’ which, among other things, seeks to increase the flexibility given to Member States to grant state aid without prior notification and approval by the Commission, provided that certain conditions are met. The GBER sets out the categories of aid and the conditions under which aid measures can benefit from such an exemption.
The objectives of the revised GBER are to extend the possibilities for Member States to grant "good aid" to companies without prior Commission scrutiny, simplify the award of state aid and reduce the duration of processes for aid beneficiaries, and introduce ex-post requirements for Member States such as the requirement to evaluate large aid schemes and introduce more transparency on aid measures.
The Commission has included a number of new categories of aid in the GBER, such as aid schemes to make good the damage caused by natural disasters, social aid for transport residents of remote regions, aid for broadband infrastructure, aid for culture and heritage conservation, aid for sport and multifunctional recreational infrastructures, and investment aid for local infrastructure.
The revised GBER will come into force as from 1 July 2014.