European Commission has exempted public support measures in a number of areas from prior Commission state aid control, said a press statement.
This facilitates public investments in key infrastructure, namely ports and existing airports, but also public support for culture, multi-purpose sport arenas and the EU's outermost regions.
EU State aid rules ensure that companies can compete on equal terms in the EU Single Market to the benefit of European consumers. The EU Treaty gives the Commission the task of enforcing those rules.
Because fair competition is not just a question of what private companies do. We also have to look at what governments are doing – at how State-owned companies operate and at the subsidies that governments give.
That's why Member States are normally required to notify their plans for State aid to the Commission, and to go ahead only if the Commission gives its agreement.
This allows the Commission to prevent measures that distort competition, that hinder trade across national borders and undermine the EU Single Market. For example, if a Member State wants to give a better tax treatment to its national champion at the expense of more efficient competitors abroad.
At the same time, the vast majority of public support measures do not cause such problems. Either they are not State aid at all and fall outside the scope of EU State aid control. Or, they do amount to State aid but do not distort competition. They can all be implemented by Member States without having to ask the Commission for permission in advance.