CEEP Opinion on the EU State Aid Modernisation Agenda – PDF

Executive summary

  • European state aid rules are of great relevance for the quality and affordability of Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) in Europe. In particular they can be a significant source of administrative burden and legal uncertainty for public authorities in their task of fulfilling missions of general interest.
  • Building on the State Aid Modernisation Agenda, CEEP encourages the European Commission to pursue its efforts towards more administrative simplification, including through a comprehensive assessment and review of the Almunia package as called for by the Committee of the Regions1.
  • CEEP took note of the Notice on the Notion of State Aid. Clarifications over the European Commission’s line on local services and financing of infrastructure are particularly relevant for public services’ providers. However, CEEP is generally concerned that the exercise in itself contains a risk of a biased approach and may add rigidity in the Commission’s approach.
  • The existing State Aid Framework Rules for Services of General Economic Interest (so-called ‘Almunia package’) plays a fundamental role in the provision of public services. The European Commission should seize the evaluation of the Almunia package by the 31th of January 2017 as an opportunity to enhance and further simplify existing rules.
  • Next to specific state aid rules for SGEIs, the GBER is certainly the second most important state aid framework for SGEIs’ providers. CEEP welcomes the on-going initiative to broaden its scope and calls on the Commission to pursue this exercise.
  • Regarding sectoral state aid guidelines, CEEP would especially like to stress the need to make EU state aid broadband guidelines fit for purpose to support achieving EU broadband development targets, as recommended by the REFIT Platform.
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