Tag Archives: Control of State aid

State aid to shipbuilding

State aid to shipbuilding

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid to shipbuilding

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

State aid to shipbuilding (I)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 3094/95 of 22 December 1995 on aid to shipbuilding [See amending acts].

Summary

Regulation (EC) No 3094/95, which was the result of an agreement concluded in 1994 within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regarding normal competitive conditions in the commercial shipbuilding and repair industry, cannot enter into force until the agreement has been ratified by all the parties. Given the reluctance by the United States to ratify, the Council initially adopted Regulation (EC) No 1540/98 in its place. This Regulation has now expired and has been replaced by the link on state aid to shipbuilding.

Definition of some of the terms used in the Regulation (“shipbuilding”, “ship repair”, etc.).

Enumeration of the various types of aid and the conditions which must be satisfied for them to be judged compatible with the common market:

  • social assistance (when such aid is intended to cover the cost of measures for the exclusive benefit of workers who lose retirement benefits or who are made redundant or are otherwise permanently deprived of their employment in the respective shipbuilding, conversion or repair enterprise, when such assistance is related to the discontinuance of shipyard activities, bankruptcy, or changes in activities other than shipbuilding, conversion or repair);
  • research and development aid (when such aid relates to fundamental research, basic industrial research, applied research or development, provided the limits set by the Regulation are observed);
  • indirect aid (when this is given in the form of state loans and guarantees, as development assistance to a developing country or for the building or conversion of ships, provided the conditions laid down in the Regulation are observed).

Derogations in favour of Spain, Portugal and Belgium, whereby reconstruction aid granted in the form of investment assistance and any other aid for social measures not covered by the Regulation and granted after 1 January 1996 may be authorised, provided the conditions laid down in the Regulation are observed.

Possibility of considering other aid to be compatible in the particular cases listed in the Regulation.

Monitoring procedure:

  • obligation on Member States to give the Commission advance notice of any aid scheme or amendment of an existing scheme, any decision to apply an aid scheme to an undertaking or any individual application of aid schemes;
  • obligation on Member States to provide the Commission with various reports on aid, on the basis of which the Commission draws up an annual overall report to serve as a basis for discussion with national experts.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 3094/95 31.12.1995 OJ L 332 of 30.12.1995
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2600/97 23.12.1997 L 351 of 23.12.1997

Related Acts

Seventh Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2003) 232 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The countries or regions with the largest market shares in this sector are Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union. The sector is currently reeling from a deep crisis caused by three factors: past over-ordering, the global economic slowdown – and particularly the US slowdown – and the repercussions of September 11.

Order intake worldwide fell by 12.3% from 2001 to 2002, following a decrease of 20.7% between 2000 and 2001. European shipyards have, however, been the worst affected by this slump, with orders generally down 50% on 2001 and by over 70% compared to 2000. The hardest hit vessels are container ships and cruise ships. Only oil product tankers and bulk carriers have seen increased ordering, due to the replacement of old tonnage following new European Union maritime safety regulations and strong domestic demand in the Far East.

The main shipbuilding regions have, however, been affected in different ways: Japanese yards have the advantage of strong domestic demand, especially for bulk carriers; South Korea and China are battling for tanker contracts; and the European Union is only really active in the ferries and small tankers segment, where replacement needs are building up, although it is possible that Korean shipbuilders might try to further penetrate this market segment.

Prices: the statistics show that some categories of vessel are particularly affected by a major drop in market prices. Large container ships have seen their sales prices fall as a result of excessive price-cutting by Korean yards. The trend has been such that production costs have not always been covered. This is all the more surprising as the current weakness of the US dollar against the euro, won and yen should have led to an across-the-board increase in US dollar prices. Studies have also been carried out to investigate the relationship between the normal price, which is the full cost of production plus a profit margin of 5%, and the actual contract price charged by certain Korean shipyards. Given that production costs have risen in recent years, the gap between contract prices and normal prices has widened further. The studies are based on an analysis of several Korean yards and have revealed that the difference between the normal price and the contract price ranges from between -1% and -39%. All these results indicate a clear trend: Korean shipyards are trying to grab every order that appears in the market no matter the cost, despite assertions made to the contrary by the management of the different Korean groups. This strategy could be damaging if Korean yards fail to take certain factors into consideration, such as inflation and debt servicing, and major financial difficulties could ensue in the short term.

Sixth Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2002) 622 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Following the breakdown of two rounds of talks conducted by the Commission (26-27 August 2002 in Seoul and 24-27 September 2002 in Brussels) the Commission had no choice but to initiate proceedings with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to start bilateral consultations with the Republic of Korea. At the same time a temporary defensive mechanism was authorised for certain market segments and for a limited period only.

The crisis in world shipbuilding is deepening with very slow order intake in the major shipbuilding regions in the first six months of 2002. The main reasons are past over-supply, slowing economies around the world and the effects of 11 September. Only Japanese yards still manage to fill building slots. However, this is helped a lot by domestic demand, in particular for bulk carriers, as has been long-standing practice in this region.

World-wide ordering of new ships in the first half of 2002 was down by almost two thirds compared to average quarterly figures in 2000, which was admittedly the best year ever for shipbuilding. In the EU the situation is even worse, with ordering down by almost 80% compared to 2000. Prices for new ships have declined further and are now at the lowest level for more than a decade. Yards in South Korea have further lowered offer prices despite increases in all major cost factors, and a number of Korean yards may find it difficult to meet their financial obligations if order intake is not increased soon.

Fifth Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2002) 205 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The world shipbuilding market continues to face serious difficulties due to a substantial imbalance of supply and demand. Past expansion of shipyards, mainly in Korea, but now increasingly also in China, has led to price depression. Thanks to a historically high level of ordering in 2000, prices recovered to some extent, but the significant drop in orders in 2001 has led to a new reduction in prices. The year 2001 has been very problematic for the maritime industries worldwide: the recession in the United States and the terrorist attacks of 11 September have reduced the demand for sea trade and cruises respectively. The decline in ordering affected the container ship and cruise ship sectors most, leading to a drop in overall market shares for Korea and the EU, which are particularly strong in these segments.

The detailed cost investigations undertaken by the Commission show that certain Korean yards continue to price ships below cost while others are trying to improve their bottom line. Despite various rounds of talks with Korea, the Commission did not manage to convince the Korean authorities and yards to fully implement market principles and allow a shake-out of non-viable companies. An improvement in the market situation is therefore unlikely and the Commission has consequently proposed counter-measures to the Council, including preparing the ground for requesting a dispute settlement at the World Trade Organisation and the introduction of a temporary defensive mechanism for shipbuilding.

Fourth Commission report to the Council on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2001) 219 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The year 2000 has seen a significant expansion in orders for new ships. Nearly 56% more orders were placed as compared to 1999, primarily benefiting South Korean shipyards, which have seen their market share increase again. EU yards also benefited considerably from the higher demand for ships, although orders for cruise ships probably played a dominant role here. In 2000 South Korea has consolidated its dominant position on the world shipbuilding market, accounting for more than 35 % of all tonnage ordered worldwide. If cruise ship orders are included, the market share for the EU and Norway is around 18 % (in cgt). However, if they are excluded from the overall figures, the market share of EU yards for new orders in 2000 is below 10 %. In 2000 prices for new ships are reported to have recovered in certain market segments from the very low levels seen after the Asian crisis in 1997.

Third Commission report on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2000) 730 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this report the Commission confirms the general trend highlighted in the second report of 18 May 2000, namely that, despite increased orders, ship prices have not on the whole recovered the ground lost since 1997. Prices continue to be depressed owing to the very low offer prices from yards in South Korea, which is now the biggest shipbuilding country in the world. Over the first eight months of 2000, its shipyards took more than 40% of all new orders. The Commission considers the stagnation in prices to be all the more alarming in that the European Union has drastically cut back state aid to shipbuilding. Despite the signing of the Agreed Minutes in June 2000 aimed at obtaining from South Korea firm commitments on non-intervention in the financing of shipbuilding, bilateral talks ended in failure. The Commission thus plans to:

  • continue its monitoring of the market situation;
  • examine the European industry’s complaint of October 2000 against Korean dumping, in order to deal with this problem under WTO rules;
  • remain open, at the same time, to any Korean proposals;
  • continue efforts to re-establish fair competition at international level;
  • encourage the International Monetary Fund to ensure that the restructuring of Korean shipyards is closely monitored;
  • continue to cooperate with the industry on competitiveness issues;
  • examine with the Council any possible action to address the problem.

Second Commission report on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (2000) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report takes stock of the world shipbuilding market. The market is in crisis, with supply outstripping demand. Vessel prices are falling in the face of unbeatable competition from Korean yards, which are prepared to sell at a loss in order to ensure market share and cash flow. To address the problem, the European Commission obtained an agreement from the Korean authorities to restrict State financial intervention in the shipbuilding industry. The Commission also gathered evidence pointing to unfair competition, and a complaint may be filed under the Trade Barriers Regulation.

First Commission report on the situation in world shipbuilding [COM (1999) 474 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report describes overcapacity on the shipbuilding market, with a marked imbalance between supply and demand caused mainly by South Korea’s increased capacity. Vessel prices were between 15 and 30% down on 1998 levels, stimulating demand and increasing the Korean yards’ market share. There were reasons to believe that Korean yards were offering vessels at below-retail rates.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1177/2002 of 27 June 2002 concerning a temporary defensive mechanism to shipbuilding [Official Journal No L 172 of 2.7.2002].

The commitments contained in the Agreed Minutes signed by the European Commission and the Government of the Republic of Korea on 22 June 2000 with a view to ensuring an effective price surveillance mechanism have not been effectively implemented by the Korean side and therefore a satisfactory result has not been obtained.

Consequently, despite the ban imposed by Council Regulation (EC) No 1540/98, the 2002 Regulation introduces a temporary defensive mechanism applicable to certain segments of the market (namely container ships and product and chemical tankers) for a short and limited period authorising support of 6% of contract value before aid. The aim is to enable Community shipyards to overcome unfair Korean competition. This Regulation expires on 31 March 2004.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.


Another Normative about State aid to shipbuilding

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in transport

State aid to shipbuilding (II)

To remove the differences between the rules applicable to the shipbuilding industry and to those applicable to other industrial sectors.

2) Document or Iniciative

Framework on state aid to shipbuilding [Official Journal C 317 of 30.12.2003].

3) Summary

Background

Since the early 1970s, state aid to shipbuilding has been subject to a series of specific Community regimes. This framework, which replaces Council Regulation (EC) No 1540/98, is designed to remove the differences between the rules applicable to the shipbuilding industry and those applicable to other industrial sectors. However, it takes account of specific factors affecting the shipbuilding sector, namely:

  • the nature of the world shipbuilding market (overcapacity, depressed prices, etc.);
  • the nature of ships as very large capital goods in respect of credit facilities;
  • the difficulty of applying the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on unfair trading practices to the shipbuilding sector;
  • the existence of agreements within the Organisation for Economic coordination and development (OECD) in the shipbuilding sector; this mainly concerns the 1994 Agreement on respecting normal competitive conditions in the shipbuilding and repair industry, which has not entered into force and which the OECD is in the process of replacing.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Framework, the following definitions shall apply:

  • shipbuilding: the building of self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels;
  • ship repair: the repair or reconditioning of self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels;
  • ship conversion: the conversion of self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels of not less than 1 000 gt, on condition that conversion operations entail radical alterations to the cargo plan, the shell, the propulsion system or the passenger accommodation;
  • self-propelled seagoing commercial vessels, including:

– vessels of not less than 100 gt used for the transportation of passengers and/or goods;
– vessels of not less than 100 gt for the performance of a specialised service (for example, dredgers and ice breakers);
– tugs of not less than 365 kW;
– fishing vessels of not less than 100 gt;
– unfinished shells of vessels.

Scope

Aid to shipbuilding includes aid to any shipyard, related entity, shipowner or third party which is granted, whether directly or indirectly, for the building, repair or conversion of ships.

The Framework provides for special measures in relation to investment aid for innovation, closure aid, export credits, development aid and regional aid.

Research, development and innovation aid

Aid granted to defray expenditure by shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion firms on R&D projects may be considered compatible with the common market if it complies with the rules laid down in the Community framework for state aid for research and development.

Aid granted for innovation in existing shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion yards may be deemed compatible with the common market up to a maximum aid intensity of 20% gross, provided that it contributes to the search for innovative products and processes.

Closure aid

Aid to defray the costs resulting from the total or partial closure of shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion yards may be considered compatible with the common market provided that the resulting capacity reduction is of a genuine and irreversible nature.

The costs eligible for aid are:

  • payments to workers made redundant or retired before the legal retirement age;
  • the costs of counselling services to workers made or to be made redundant or retired;
  • payments to workers for vocational retraining;
  • expenditure incurred for the redevelopment of the yard, its buildings, installations and infrastructure for use other than shipbuilding.

Companies receiving partial closure aid must not have benefited from rescue and restructuring aid in the past ten years. For further information, see the Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty.

Employment aid

Aid granted for the creation of employment, the recruitment of disadvantaged and disabled workers or to cover the additional costs of employing disadvantaged and disabled workers in shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion firms may be considered compatible if it complies with the substantive rules laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2204/2002.

Development aid and export credits

Aid to shipbuilding in the form of development aid or export credits may be considered compatible with the common market if it complies with the terms of the 1998 OECD Arrangement on Guidelines for Officially Supported Export Credits and with its Sector Understanding on Export Credits for Ships.

Regional aid

Regional aid to shipbuilding, ship repair or ship conversion may be considered compatible with the common market on condition that it fulfils the following conditions:

  • aid must be granted for investment in upgrading or modernising installations with a view to improving productivity and must not be linked to financial restructuring of the yards concerned;
  • in the regions referred to in Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty and in compliance with the regional aid map, the intensity of the aid must not exceed 22.5%;
  • in the regions referred to in Article 87(3)(c) of the EC Treaty and in compliance with the regional aid map, the intensity of the aid must not exceed 12.5 % or the applicable regional aid ceiling, whichever is the lower.

Aid must cover eligible expenditure as defined in the Community guidelines on regional aid.

Member States are required to submit annual reports to the Commission on all existing aid schemes. This Framework will be applicable from 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2006 at the latest. It may be reviewed by the Commission during this period, in particular in the light of the Community’s international obligations.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

State aid for public service broadcasting

State aid for public service broadcasting

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid for public service broadcasting

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Audiovisual and media

State aid for public service broadcasting

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting [Official Journal C 257 of 27.10.2009].

Summary

Since the 2001 Communication from the Commission on the application of state aid rules to public broadcasting, technological changes have significantly changed the broadcasting and audiovisual markets, including an increase in competition with new players entering the market as well as the availability of new media services. In order to compete, both public and private broadcasters have had to diversify their activities, moving to new distribution platforms and expanding the range of their services. This diversification of the publicly funded activities of public service broadcasters has resulted in a number of complaints by other market players. There have also been significant legal developments since the 2001 Communication, with the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive which extends the scope of the European Union (EU) audiovisual regulation to emerging media services. Due to these technological, market and legal developments, an update to the 2001 Communication on state aid for public broadcasting is necessary.

The assessment of state aid in the EU is based on Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (ex-Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)). In accordance with Article 107 TFEU, state aid includes the following conditions:

  • aid must be granted by an EU country, or by means of state resources;
  • it must distort or threaten to distort competition by favouring the beneficiary;
  • it must be liable to affect trade between EU countries.

Article 106(2) TFEU (ex-Article 86(2) TEC) provides a derogation from the ban on state aid for undertakings operating a service of general economic interest. To benefit from this exemption, the following conditions apply:

  • the service in question is clearly defined as a service of general economic interest by the EU county concerned;
  • the undertaking in question must be explicitly entrusted by the EU country with the provision of that service;
  • the ban on state aid must obstruct the performance of the particular tasks assigned to the undertaking and the exemption from the ban must not affect the development of trade to an extent that would be contrary to EU interests.

For public broadcasting the above must be adapted in accordance with the Amsterdam Protocol which:

  • states that the public service remit is conferred, defined and organised by each EU country;
  • provides for a derogation for funding granted to broadcasting organisations for the fulfilment of the public service remit so long as it does not affect trading conditions and competition in the EU to an extent that would be contrary to EU interests.

The state aid assessment by the Commission requires transparency. This consists of a precise definition of the public service remit. The undertaking carrying out this service must be clearly entrusted with that task. The public service compensation should not exceed the net costs of the public service. EU countries should ensure regular supervision of the use of public funding and the carrying out of the public service mandate.

In relation to the diversification of public broadcasting services, the Commission considers that public service broadcasters should be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitisation and internet-based services to benefit society by offering services on all platforms, provided that it does not distort competition or disproportionately affect the market. However, EU countries must consider whether significant new audiovisual services envisaged by public service broadcasters fulfil the conditions of the Amsterdam Protocol in serving the democratic, social and cultural needs of the society, without having disproportionate effects on trading conditions and competition. EU countries must determine what qualifies as a significant new service.

The rapid evolution of the broadcasting markets means that broadcasters are turning to new sources of financing, such as online advertising or the provision of services for payment. Whilst traditionally public broadcasting services are free-to-air, the Commission considers that a direct remuneration in such services does not necessarily mean that the services are not part of the public service remit. The communication states that as long as the pay element does not compromise the benefit to society which distinguishes public services from purely commercial activities.

State Aid Action Plan

State Aid Action Plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State Aid Action Plan

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

State Aid Action Plan

The State Aid Action Plan presented by the Commission launches a comprehensive reform of state aid policy that will cover a five-year period (2005-2009). The objective is to guarantee the Member States a clear and predictable framework, which enables them to grant state aid, targeted towards achieving the Lisbon Strategy objectives.

Document or Iniciative

State Aid Action Plan – Less and better targeted state aid: a roadmap for state aid reform 2005 – 2009 [Consultation document – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The State Aid Action Plan submitted by the Commission is a roadmap for the reform of state aid policy that will cover a five-year period (2005-2009).

The aim of the reform is to encourage Member States to help achieve the Lisbon Strategy objectives. The new policy on state aid will thus help them to target state aid towards improving the competitiveness of European industry and creating sustainable jobs.

The reform will also rationalise and simplify procedures to guarantee Member States a clear and predictable framework in the area of state aid.

Rationale for Community state aid policy

State aid control, as an integral part of competition policy, helps to maintain competitive markets. The EC Treaty prohibits any aid that distorts or threatens to distort competition in the common market (Article 87(1)). State aid may lead to distortion of competition by favouring certain firms or the production of certain goods. Controlling state aid therefore guarantees a level playing field for all firms operating within the internal market.

However, the Treaty allows some exceptions where the proposed aid may have a beneficial impact in overall Union terms. State aid measures can sometimes be effective tools for achieving objectives of common interest (services of general economic interest, social and regional cohesion, employment, research and development, sustainable development, promotion of cultural diversity, etc.) and for correcting “market failures”. For various reasons (externalities, market power, coordination problems between market operators), market sometimes do not function efficiently from an economic point of view. Member States may then intervene by granting state aid. By doing so, they improve the efficiency of the market and promote growth.

State aid may therefore be compatible with the Treaty provided that it fulfils clearly defined objectives of common interest and does not distort competition to an extent contrary to the common interest. Control of state aid is fundamentally about balancing the negative effects of aid on competition with its positive effects in terms of common interest, although the presumed advantages for the common interest must outweigh the negative effect of the distortion of competition. This task is entrusted to the European Commission by the Treaty.

Increasingly numerous and complex rules on state aid, enlargement of the European Union to include ten new Member States in 2004 and the need for renewed impetus for the Lisbon Strategy have underscored a need to streamline state aid policy and clarify its fundamental principles.

Action plan guidelines

The reform of state aid policy must be a consistent and comprehensive. The action plan sets out guidelines for this reform that will be common to the various instruments involved.

  • Less state aid more efficiently applied: The objective is to target state aid towards activities to which the financial markets are reluctant to loan money or which contribute to growth, competitiveness or the creation of sustainable jobs. However, achieving this objective depends partly on a more refined economic approach.
  • A more refined economic approach: This involves finding out why, without public intervention, the market does not achieve an optimum result, whether it is because there is a “market failure” or because it produces social or regional inequalities which must be corrected. It is therefore necessary to better evaluate whether state aid is justified, whether it represents the most appropriate solution and how it can be implemented without distorting competition to an extent contrary to the common interest. This approach would facilitate and speed up authorisation of the aid which least distorts competition and, at the same time, would focus attention on the aid likely to have the most serious distortive effect on competition.
  • More effective procedures, better enforcement, higher predictability and enhanced transparency: Improving the rules on state aid will require more effective and more transparent procedures, extension of the scope of block exemptions, a reduction in the number of aid measures to be notified, faster decision-making and procedural rules adapted to the enlarged European Union. This will result in greater legal certainty and will facilitate administrative tasks for the Commission and the Member States. Moreover, as a result of enhanced transparency, firms, competition specialists, consumers and the public will find it easier to take action against unlawful aid, particularly before the national courts.
  • Shared responsibility between the Commission and Member States: However, the rules and procedures on state aid cannot be improved without the active support of the Member States, which must undertake to notify all planned aid and to respect the rules on state aid.

State aid targeted towards the Lisbon Strategy priorities

The action plan also encourages Member States to target state aid towards achieving the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy. State aid policy should therefore enable market failures to be targeted in such a way as to promote these objectives. Eight priority areas have been identified:

  • Innovation and research and development (R&D): The rules on state aid should encourage industry to invest in R&D and to take into account the increasing importance of public-private partnerships.
  • Creating a better business climate and stimulating entrepreneurship: the rules on state aid should facilitate the rapid start-up of new businesses and stimulate investment in the form of risk capital.
  • Investing in human capital
  • Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI): State aid measures will fulfil their public service aims by providing effective high-quality SGEI.
  • Better prioritization through simplification and consolidation: This means implementing the principle that state aid policy should focus on the most distortive types of aid.
  • A focused regional aid policy: State aid policy will help to reduce disparities between the regions of Europe and will therefore be a factor for cohesion and stability.
  • Encouraging an environmentally sustainable future
  • Setting up modern transport, energy, and information and communication technology infrastructures: the rules on state aid should take into account the increasing importance of public-private partnerships.

Next steps

Between 2005 until 2009 the Commission will present proposals detailing the reform outlined in the action plan for each area relating to state aid. It will re-examine all the instruments involving state aid to ensure that the same principles are applied in a consistent and comprehensive manner. Some sectors that are subject to specific rules (agriculture, fisheries, coal and transport) will, however, not be concerned by the reform initiated by the action plan.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

State aid for SMEs in the fisheries sector

State aid for SMEs in the fisheries sector

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid for SMEs in the fisheries sector

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in agriculture and fisheries

State aid for SMEs in the fisheries sector

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EC) No 736/2008 of 22 July 2008 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty to State aid to small and medium-sized enterprises active in the production, processing and marketing of fisheries products.

Summary

This Regulation applies to aid granted to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the fisheries sector. This aid is exempt from a case-by-case assessment on the condition that it complies with the previsions of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and the fisheries guidelines .

The categories of aid exempted pursuant to this Regulation are:

  • aid for cessation of fishing activities;
  • aid for financing socioeconomic measures;
  • aid for productive investments in aquaculture;
  • aid for aqua-environmental measures;
  • aid for public health and animal health measures;
  • aid for inland fishing;
  • aid for processing and marketing fisheries products and aquaculture;
  • aid for collective actions. This aid is for the financing of measures of common interest which are supported by operators, producer organisations or other organisations recognised by the Member States.
  • aid for measures intended to protect and develop aquatic fauna and flora;
  • aid for investments in fishing ports, landing sites and shelters;
  • aid for development of new markets and promotional campaigns;
  • aid for pilot projects;
  • aid for modification for reassignment of fishing vessels;
  • aid for technial assistance.

This Regulation does not cover:

  • aid the amount of which is fixed on the basis of price or quantity of products put on the market;
  • aid to export-related activities;
  • aid favouring domestic products over imported products;
  • aid granted to undertakings in difficulty to rescue and restructure them;
  • aid granted to an undertaking which is subject to an outstanding recovery order following a decision by the Commission declaring an aid illegal and incompatible with the common market.

Member States must ensure that the aid it wishes to grant does not affect trading conditions in a way contrary to the general interest. Aid granted is not subject to the notification requirement of Article 88, paragraph 3 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty). However, Member States must send a form of summary information detailed in Annex I of this Regulation in electronic format to the Commission for publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The amount of aid cannot exceed a maximum of EUR 1 million per beneficiary, per year or EUR 2 million per eligible project.

Cumulation of exempted aid under this Regulation with other aid of the same type is possible if the cumulated aid concerns different eligible costs within the maximum amounts detailed above.

Only aid with an incentive effect will benefit from the exemption of the aforementioned Regulation. Aid has an incentive effect when it enables beneficiaries to carry out activities or projects which they would not have undertaken under normal market conditions. For the incentive effect to be recognised, the beneficiary must submit an application for aid before the launch of the project or activities start.

Each year Member States must send a report in electronic format to the Commission. The information submitted must enable the Commission to verify that the exempted aid complies with transparency and exemption criteria.

References

Act

Entry into force – expiry date

Deadline for transposition into the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 736/2008

18.8.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 201 of 30.7.2008