Source: European Commission
Brussels, Tuesday 23rd February 2021.
The European Commission has launched today a public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on a proposed targeted revision of the Communication on State aid rules for Important Projects of Common European Interest (the “IPCEI Communication”). Stakeholders can respond to the consultation for eight weeks, until 20 April 2021. The Commission has conducted an evaluation of the current IPCEI Communication as part of the State aid Fitness Check. The evaluation showed that the current provisions of the IPCEI Communication work well overall, and are an effective tool in facilitating the emergence of IPCEIs. At the same time, some targeted adjustments may be necessary. In this context, the Commission is proposing a number of targeted changes to reflect the experience gained from the application of the current rules and to align the Communication with current EU priorities: (i) to clarify certain notions and provide further guidance on certain criteria set out in the Communication; (ii) to facilitate the direct and indirect involvement in IPCEIs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); (iii) to further enhance the open character of IPCEIs and their consistency with EU policies, notably enabling the green and digital transformation. The current IPCEI Communication has been prolonged until the end of 2021 in order to provide predictability and legal certainty during the revision process. The adoption of the new IPCEI Communication is planned for the second half of 2021. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: To tackle those massive innovation and infrastructure challenges to green and digitise our economy, the risks can be too big for just one Member State or one company to take alone. Our rules on Important Projects of Common European Interest have recently paved the way for three cross-border projects for more innovative and sustainable batteries and microchips. They pool public and private knowledge and resources across Europe, while ensuring that State aid crowds in private investment and competition distortions are minimised. We now invite stakeholders to comment on a targeted revision of these rules, for example to further facilitate the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in these projects and to ensure they are truly open and transparent to all Member States that wish to participate.
The full press release is available online.